Detroit man charged in kidnapping, murder-for-hire of teen accused of plotting to have witness killed

A Detroit man facing charges stemming from a teen girl's kidnapping and murder is facing more charges after authorities allege he tried to have a witness killed.

Gerald Bennett, 63, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, kidnapping of a minor victim, and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. 

According to court records, a man named Quinn James contacted a man, referred to as D.E., to help him find someone to kill a 16-year-old girl from the Grand Rapids area after the girl accused James of raping her.

D.E. referred James to Bennett. James picked up Bennett in Detroit and brought him to Grand Rapids in January 2018.

The girl was kidnapped and strangled to death, and her body was found in a wooded area in Kalamazoo County, court records show. 

Authorities say that in November 2022, while behind bars, Bennett allegedly offered another person $10,000 to kill D.E., so D.E. couldn't testify against him.

Bennett is accused of saying he would continue to fake incompetency until the potential hitman finished his sentence and was released from jail.