Breaking News
More () »

'Why Quinn, why?': Jury begins deliberation Thursday in trial for Kentwood girl's rape

"It is what it is," James can be heard telling a Kalamazoo detective, after admitting to having sex with Dumbuya.

Update: Jury deliberation began around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 25.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The case against a man charged with raping a 15-year-old Kentwood girl multiple times last summer, is now in the hands of the jury.

43-year-old Quinn James was charged in November 2017 with first degree sexual assault of then 15-year-old Mujey Dumbuya. James is also charged in Dumbuya's January 2018 disappearance and death, but jurors in this trial were not made aware of the murder charges.

Closing statements did not wrap up until late Wednesday, Oct. 24, so jury deliberation will begin first thing Thursday.

James' trial began Tuesday, Oct. 23, but the most damning evidence against him was not shown to jurors until Wednesday morning.

With her head in her hands, Mujey Dumbuya's aunt listened from the gallery as defense attorney Jonathan Schildgen questioned her niece's ex-boyfriend. Daquarius Bibbs, 18, was granted immunity for testifying against James in the rape case, despite Bibbs having also had sex with Dumbuya when she was 15 years old. A fact that the defense worked to highlight as a motive for Bibbs to make up the allegations against James.

In his closing statements, Kent County Prosecutor Kevin Bramble said there is a huge difference between a 42-year-old man having sex with a 15-year-old girl, and a 17-year-old having sex with a 15-year-old.

"If we were to charge every 17-year-old who has sex with a 15-year-old, we’d be emptying out the high schools," Bramble told the jury.

Bibbs testified that he held Dumbuya's hand as James, who Bibbs calls his uncle, had sex with her multiple different times.

"There were tears in her eyes, and down her face," Bibbs said.

Schildgen asked Bibbs about messages he sent to James arranging a time and place where they could both have sex with Dumbuya. In his opening statement, Schildgen told the jury that James and Bibbs liked to 'chase down' girls together, an unsettling claim given not only their age difference, but also because James was dating and living with Bibbs' aunt at the time.

A highly debated piece of evidence, a confession video from James to a Kalamazoo detective, played out for jurors Wednesday.

"It is what it is," James can be heard telling a Kalamazoo detective, after admitting to having sex with Dumbuya.

In the video, James claims he was told Dumbuya was 18 years old and also claimed Dumbuya was a prostitute. A claim that police never found to be true.

Read more: Tweets from inside the courtroom

Gut wrenching recordings of the calls James made from the Kent County Jail to his mother and girlfriend were also played.

James' mother: "If you didn't have sex with that girl you need to fight this to the bitter end, because it will ruin your life."

James: "My life is ruined."

James' mother: "Why Quinn?"

James: "I had sex with her the day we met... I didn't know, I thought the girl was..."

James' mother breaks into sobs saying his name repeatedly as she cries. James could be seen wiping away tears as the calls played.

"You know you had no business with that little girl, you know that," James' mother yells at him through the phone.

"I know, mom," he replies.

The jury will deliberate the eight counts of criminal sexual conduct against James on Thursday.

►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Emma Nicolas is a multimedia journalist. Have a news tip or question for Emma? Get in touch by email enicolas@wzzm13.com, Facebook or Twitter.