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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Man convicted in slaying of teen who accused him of rape

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A West Michigan man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of a 16-year-old girl who accused him of rape.

A Grand Rapids jury issued a guilty verdict Thursday for Quinn James, 43, of Wyoming.

Mujey Dumbuya's partially clothed body was found in January 2018 in woods in Kalamazoo, about 50 miles southeast of her Grand Rapids-area home. She had been strangled.

James was a maintenance worker at Dumbuya's school and she accused him of sexual assault in 2017. Authorities said James killed the girl while free on a $100,000 cash bond in the assault case.

He was sentenced last December to 20-30 years in prison for third-degree criminal sexual conduct. His sentencing in the killing is scheduled for March 25.

Whitmer supports efforts to prevent Asian carp invasion

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is offering qualified support of a federal plan to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

Whitmer submitted comments this week on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to install fish-blocking devices at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The corps is preparing a report to Congress proposing use of technologies such as noisemakers and a water-flushing lock at Brandon Road, a key choke point between the carp-infested Illinois River and Lake Michigan.

Whitmer said she agreed with fortifying the lock and dam, but was concerned about a recent spike in the price tag, now estimated at $778 million.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Daniel Eichinger urged a quicker timetable for the project and design changes that might reduce costs.

Ex-Michigan couple convicted in slayings of 2 women in Phoenix area

PHOENIX (AP) — A former Michigan man and his wife have been convicted in the 2016 slayings of two women during a burglary in the Phoenix suburb of Surprise, Arizona.

Maricopa County Superior Court officials said a jury Thursday found both Montez Wright and Tichina Shepard guilty on two counts of first-degree murder and related charges. Their sentencings are scheduled for April 26.

Authorities said 70-year-old Barbara Leslie and 75-year-old Ruth Schwed were found fatally shot in Leslie's Surprise home on Feb. 8, 2016.

Schwed was a friend of Leslie and was visiting from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Authorities said Wright and Shepard moved to Arizona from Southfield, Michigan, in January 2016.

Fund to support Nassar victims' counseling, other services

EAST LANSING (AP) — Michigan State University has started an intermediate fund to support counseling and mental health services for victims of imprisoned former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

The school shut down a previous $10 million fund after its interim president at the time said nearly half of the $1.1 million that had been distributed had gone to people trying to defraud the school. Campus police said none of those fraudulent claims were made by Nassar's victims.

The school said Thursday that the intermediate fund is available to MSU health clinic patients and student-athletes who were abused by Nassar. Parents of the victims also can use the services.

Hundreds of girls and women said Nassar molested them while he worked for MSU and USA Gymnastics. He is in prison for sexually assaulting patients and possessing child pornography.

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