MUSKEGON, MICH. - A viral Facebook post, posted on Wednesday, Dec. 21, alleged Jeffrey Willis listened to a recording of Rebekah Bletsch's family addressing the court during the trial for her murder.
The Muskegon County Sheriff confirmed on Thursday that Willis was transported to Jackson by a sheriff's department cruiser while listening to a CD of the Bletsch family's testimony.
The reaction to the post was overwhelmingly positive. This, after Willis walked out of the sentencing before family members spoke.
On his way out, he was seen blowing a kiss good bye -- a move that received many gasps and comments from the gallery.
Rebekah Bletsch's mother Debra Reamer first read on Facebook Willis was forced to listen to the recording.
"I was afraid to believe it," said Reamer. She learned a short time later it was true.
Muskegon County Sheriff Michael Poulin confirmed Thursday he's the person who made the audio recording and provided it to the two deputies who drove Willis to Jackson early Wednesday morning.
The recording was everything Willis would have heard had he not been allowed to leave Monday's sentencing hearing.
"I was glad he had to do that," said Reamer. "He walked out on us and that wasn't right."
Michigan State Representative Terry Sabo, (D-Muskegon) was watching a live feed of the sentencing Monday.
"My heart went out right away for the victim's family," Sabo said. Sabo believes lawmakers may be able to craft legislation that give judges authority to prevent defendants from skipping sentencing hearings.
"The person who has been convicted has certain rights that are afforded to them," said Sabo. "In my opinion the victim's family also has rights as well."
Muskegon County's other State Rep. Holly Hughes (R-Montague) believes legislation is needed to make convicts listen to victim impact statements.
"This is something that we can all unite on," said Hughes. "One for all and all for one when you are dealing with a monster like this."
Debra Reamers says if asked by the lawmakers to testify in Lansing she'd say yes.
In March Jeffrey Willis will be back in Muskegon County to stand trial on another murder charge, That trial is for the kidnapping and death of store clerk Jessica Heeringa.
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