Jeffrey Willis case: Ottawa County judge to decide if Muskegon judge stays on

Ottawa judge to hear motion in Willis Case

MUSKEGON, MICH. - Ottawa County judge Bradley Knoll, the chief judge in the 58th District Court, will hear a lawyer's motion that a Muskegon judge recuse himself from the Jeffrey Willis case.

Knoll is reviewing Muskegon County judge Raymond Kostrzewa's decision not to recuse himself from the high-profile kidnapping and murder case. Willis is charged with the 2013 disappearance and murder of Jessica Heeringa.

Kostrzewa at one time was part of the Muskegon County Prosecutor's office amid the Heeringa investigation. Willis' defenders argue that the judge presiding over the case must set aside any appearance of bias.

Kostrzewa earlier said he was not involved in the Heeringa investigation and refused to step aside.

Willis also is facing charges in two other cases: the fatal shooting of 36-year-old Rebekah Bletsch in 2014 and the April attempted abduction of a teenage girl.

Willis' attorney also filed a motion that when the case does go to a preliminary hearing that it be closed to the public and media. This sort of hearing typically is open to all; WZZM 13 and other media outlets in West Michigan ask that the defense's request to close the hearing be denied.

That motion will be decided after Knoll's ruling.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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