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Press Release

Further Charges Added Against Detroit Man Held In Murder-For-Hire Plan

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

Among Additional Charges, Defendant Allegedly Plotted to Kill a Witness Against Him

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that a grand jury has returned a Superseding Indictment against Gerald Bennett, 63, from Detroit, Michigan.  In the Superseding Indictment, Bennett is charged with (1) conspiracy to commit murder for hire resulting in death, (2) kidnapping resulting in death, (3) kidnapping of a minor victim, and (4) solicitation to commit a crime of violence. If convicted of count one or two, Bennett will be sentenced to a mandatory sentence of life in prison. A copy of the indictment is attached. A previous press release on this case, with further background, was issued in April 2023.

          “The allegations in this case are tragic, grave, and compelling,” said U.S. Attorney Totten.  “My thoughts are very much with the victim’s family and my office looks forward to presenting the evidence against Mr. Bennett at a fair trial.”  

          According to the Superseding Indictment, Bennett was hired by a man named Quinn James to kill M.D., a then-16-year-old high school sophomore, who was abducted and killed in January 2018. There were initially concerns about Bennett’s competency to stand trial following his arrest on federal kidnapping charges, but a forensic psychologist from the Bureau of Prisons has determined that Bennett is competent to stand trial. A federal magistrate reviewed the psychologist’s findings and agreed.

          The Superseding Indictment alleges that while the competency evaluation was pending, Bennett attempted to engage in a scheme to kill another person; Count 4 alleges that Bennett tried to hire a fellow inmate to murder an expected witness against Bennett. According to the charge, Bennett told the fellow inmate that he would fake incompetency to give the inmate time to be released from custody and complete the killing on Bennett’s behalf.  

          This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Mekaru and Austin Hakes and investigated by the Grand Rapids Police Department, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, and the FBI in cooperation with the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office.

          The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.


Updated June 7, 2023

Violent Crime