Man Accused in Michigan Teen’s Abduction and Strangling Dies Before Trial

( – The man accused of having a hand in the kidnapping, strangulation, and murder of a 15-year-old Michigan girl has died, according to a number of reports. Gerald Bennett was awaiting trial for his alleged involvement in the 2017 abduction and killing of Mujey Dumbuya.

A cancer diagnosis landed Bennett in the hospital on November 7th and his health reportedly declined quickly. His cancer metastasized and doctors were forced to place him on life support. Their efforts were to no avail and he died only five days after his admission to the Grand Rapids facility.

Bennett’s pending case was well-followed in Michigan, though his latest was only one in a series of two. His attorneys were able to have the first case against their client dismissed after successfully arguing that Bennett was not mentally competent to face trial.

At the time, prosecutors alleged that Bennett had been hired to kidnap Dumbuya as she waited at a Grand Rapids bus stop. Dumbuya had leveled allegations of assault against Quinn James, who was employed at her school as a maintenance worker.

Prosecutors said Quinn hired Bennett to abduct Dumbuya ahead of her scheduled testimony at his 2018 trial. Her strangled body was eventually found in a wooded area in nearby Kalamazoo. Both Bennett and Quinn were charged in her death.

While Quinn was given a life sentence, the charges against Bennett were dropped. Frustrated prosecutors reportedly convinced the FBI to take up the case and a grand jury eventually indicted Bennett on different charges that revolved around kidnapping and solicitation of murder-for-hire.

A psychologist hired by federal prosecutors determined that Bennett had been feigning his mental incompetence and insisted that he was indeed fit to stand trial. Jury selection in Bennett’s proceedings was slated to begin in February of 2024.

Mark Totten, the U.S. Attorney who was helming the case, said Dumbuya will now only be receiving a partial “measure of justice.”

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