MUSKEGON, MICH. - Kevin Bluhm, the cousin of Jeffrey Willis, filed to have his felony charge of "accessory after the fact" regarding the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa to be dropped.
This falls during the ongoing Jeffrey Willis trial for the murder of Rebekah Bletsch. Bluhm was charged with lying to police after he claimed to know where Heeringa's body was buried and then leading police to an incorrect location, but Bluhm was later charged with accessory after the fact to Heeringa's murder.
Below are live updates from Bluhm's court hearing:
Motion to lower bond denied. Judge denied both Bluhm's motions, which concludes the hearing.
Judge says issue of "passage of time" affects the lowering of bond. There must be clear and convincing evidence that the defendant presents a danger to the community. Judge says Bluhm's admittance to helping dispose of Heeringa's body is convincing enough to show Bluhm presents a danger to public.
The court denies motion to dismiss the felony charge of accessory after the fact.
Court finds the two charges to be non collateral. Meaning that the bases for the two charges comes from different parts of the same interview statements - clarifying that they are two separate issues.
Prosecution says Bluhm told police he helped Willis to get rid of Heeringa's body.
"I need further clarification," Judge says to prosecution.
Defense continues to say the evidence does not support in any fashion that Bluhm knows where the body is buried.
Defense says Bluhm never appeared to know where Heeringa's body was buried.
Prosecution says that the defense are 'putting words in the mouth' of the officer who conducted the initial interview with Bluhm.
Judge: "I need clear and convincing evidence... but what is that evidence?"
Defense says that police said, according to the interview transcript, that they knew Bluhm was lying about knowing the location of Heeringa's body. Prosecution says this is not true.
The passage of time is significant Judge says, and says prosecution needs evidence that Bluhm could be a danger to the public in order to keep his bond at $250,000. Judge asks the prosecutor what evidence exists to show that Bluhm may know where Heeringa's body is located.
Prosecution: Reason we need bond to be this high [$250,000] is because Bluhm has very detrimental information to Heeringa's case because he may know the location of her body.
Judge asks for clarification - says the charges need to be based on different aspects of that statement given by Bluhm to police.
Prosecution says the short answer is "yes, they can [charge him for both]." Continues to say charges may be based on all, part or none of a statement.
Defense says Bluhm cannot be charged for both lying to police and accessory regarding the same statements.
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