Day 9 of Willis Trial: Jeffrey Willis takes the stand

Willis testifies in court Wednesday

MUSKEGON, MICH. - Two weeks before trial began, Jeffrey Willis told WZZM 13 he wanted to take the stand. On Wednesday afternoon, that wish was granted. 

The Muskegon County man is on trial for the murder of jogger, Rebekah Bletsch. Bletsch was shot and killed on a rural road near her home in June 2014.

Defense started the morning with testimony from Muskegon County Detective Lisa Freres. The defense argued the timeline of Willis' cousin Kevin Bluhm's alibi, could still place Bluhm at the scene of the crime at the time of Bletsch's murder. Freres testified that Bluhm was at his child's soccer game in Grand Haven and witness statements claim he was with his family for the entire evening. 

Before recessing the trial for lunch, the Judge did state the next witness would take a while. Judge William Marietti was not exaggerating. Jeffrey Willis took the stand for roughly two hours. 

Willis testified that he never stole the handgun from his co-worker Michelle Schnotala, but that she sold it to him with the serial number scratched off. He also said she gave him her underwear, police found in his possession. 

Willis also said that his cousin Kevin Bluhm asked to borrow the gun before Bletsch's murder and did not return it until after.

In regards to the videos of porn and s&m found on Willis' computer he had admitted to downloading them. He says his sex life went downhill after his wife had an abortion. He says they tried new things, such as toys and videos.

"That was my outlet. I don't know anyway else to put it. Kind of embarrassing," Willis said. 

The defense moved on to discuss the 'VICS' folder found on Willis' hard drive. Willis says he created the JLH folder to put his phone records to prove where he was that day in case police came up he had everything in order for them. The prosecution believes the JLH folder refers to Jessica Heeringa. When Bletsch was killed, Willis says at the time it was a hit and run with a silver van. He says he thought to himself, it's a silver van, he thought police would go back to him. So, he created an RSB folder on his computer.

The prosecutor also brought up the 'VICS' folder and asked Willis, "So in 2014 you were squirreling  though a phone record for a murder you didn't commit?' Willis said yes. 

Jeffrey Willis' account of what happened with the teen 'MJN' was completely different from what that victim testified. Willis said he didn't force her into the car, threaten her or ever touch her. The teen testified Willis pulled a gun on her. 

Willis argued the girl got in on her own and appeared to be jittery. He said he thought she was on drugs and when he asked her if she wanted him to take her home, she said yes. Moments later the teen jumped out of the car and ran down the road yelling, 'don't shoot me'. 

Defense then moved to read aloud a piece of the interview Kevin Bluhm had with police. In the interview, Bluhm admits to touching the gun, police believe killed Rebekah Bletsch. Bluhm also admitted to resetting his cell phone because he had porn on it as well as photos of Rebekah Bletsch from her Facebook page. Bluhm said he knew Bletsch through their children's soccer team. 

Bluhm told police, "When I first met her, I thought she was a beautiful lady. But I wouldn't hurt her. I'm the most honest guy in the world, I wouldn't kill her."

The defense rested their case just after 4:00 p.m. The Prosecutor told the Judge he had a couple of rebuttal witnesses to take the stand on Thursday.

Following those witnesses, the jury will hear closing arguments. The trial is expected to resume on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

© 2017 WZZM-TV


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