BLOG: Day 6 of Jeffrey Willis trial

Day 6 of Jeffrey Willis' trial

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MICH. - The trial of Jeffrey Willis for the murder of Rebekah Bletsch continues. Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 marks the sixth day of court proceedings. 

The judge ordered no cameras be permitted into the court room, however, we were still able to provide audio. You can listen to it on our Facebook.

03:13 p.m.
Prosecutor says he has exhausted his witnesses for the day. Judge calling court for the day. Asks to be there at 9:30 a.m. Prosecutor says he has five witnesses left and should be able to call four of them.

03:12 p.m.

Prosecutor asks what was his opinion on the questioned document. Goff says Willis' wrote the document (the note) that was in question. 

03:04 p.m.
Prosecutor asks Goff to explain how he goes about analyzing a hand writing examination. 

03:03 p.m. 
Goff deemed an expert in document analyst. 

02:58 p.m.
Prosecutor calls Mark Goff to testify. He is a Lt. with the Michigan State Police in Forensic Science Division.

02:57 p.m. 
Defense asks if Bishop and Willis had run of the home, Bishop says yes as well as two dogs. Defense asks if it wouldn't be surprising if stuff was moved, she says no. 

02:54 p.m. 
Defense moves towards the computers. Asks Bishop if she used the computers, she says no. Defense asks who owned the computer. Bishop says they received it from James Batch (spelling unsure). Asks when that was gifted she said about a year ago. 

02:51 p.m.
Defense asks if when Willis drove her to her appointments did he have a supply on him? She says not that she would recall. Defense asks if its possible Willis had a supply in his car in case she needed it when she was in his car, she says it is possible. 

02:50 p.m.
Defense takes over questioning. Asks if Willis ever have to provide an injection of insulin. She says no the two times she had to be injected with insulin he called the ambulance. 

02:45 p.m.

Prosecutor moves to Kevin Bluhm. Brings up a monthly poker game. Prosecutor asks if she was home at that time. Bishop says yes. Prosecutor asks if the poker games stopped? Bishop says yes. Prosecutor asks if the poker games stopped after Jessica Heeringa went missing, she said yes. 

02:43 p.m. 
Prosecutor asks if Bishop recalls receiving a letter from her ex-husband after he was arrested. She says yes it was referencing what he had been doing the day Rebekah was killed. She says in the letter he said he went into work with a dirty shirt and things he was doing that day. She says that going into work with a dirty shirt was not acceptable and in her memory he never went into work with a dirty shirt. 

02:40 p.m.
Prosecutor goes back to time officers showed up at door. Says she saw their cars out the window. Prosecutor asks if she saw Willis cell phone here, she says yes he left it at the same place. Prosecutor asks if she had an answering machine at the home. Bishop says yes. 

02:39 p.m.
Prosecutor asks if there was open lines of communication between the two? Bishop says no. Prosecutor asks if she knew what he was doing at all, she says no. 

02:38 p.m.
Prosecutor asks Bishops relationship with Willis. She says towards the end the last 5-6 years, 'I went my way, he went his way.' 

02:37 p.m.
Prosecutor pulls photos begins asking Bishop if she's seen ropes, a ball gag, before. She says no. Prosecutor asks if she knew her husband had a gun before? She said yes. 

02:34 p.m.
Judge will not allow a question of the sexual activity between the two. Jury ordered back into the room. 

02:32 p.m. 
Defense objects to asking questions about Bishop's knowledge to Willis' interest / their sexual activity. Judge orders jury out of room for Prosecutor to argue reasoning behind asking these questions. 

02:31 p.m. 
Prosecutor asks Bishop is he had any idea that her ex-husband was into the 'dark web', she says no. 

02:29 p.m. 
Prosecutor asks if she attended church regularly? Bishop says yes every Sunday. Prosecutor asks if Willis did, Bishop says no, only on special occasions. 

02:27 p.m.
Prosecutor pulls up photo of tool box. Asks Bishop if she's ever seen it before. Bishop says no the only tool box she's seen is a red one. Prosecutor pulls up photo of safe, asks if Bishop has ever seen it. Bishop says no. Prosecutor asks if Bishop knew about his internet searches? Bishop said no. Prosecutor asks what was Bishop's personal interest? She said she taught teen girl classes, church, sewing classes. Prosecutor asks did activities cause Bishop to be out of town? Bishop says yes she goes out of town. She was out of town April 16 with her church.  

02:24 p.m.
Prosecutors ask if there was any reason why Willis would have needles as well as her insulin in his van? Bishop says no insulin needs to be in fridge. 

02:23 p.m.
Prosecutor asks where the insulin was stored. Bishop says it was in fridge. She would order it as she needed. Given 7-9 vials every three months. 

02:21 p.m. 
Prosecutor asks what the room was where the needles were. Bishop described it as a craft room where they stored other stuff. Prosecutor asks if there was any secret where she kept the needles. Bishop says no in case of emergency Willis knew where those things were. 

02:20 p.m. 
Prosecutor says during search warrant police found needles asks why needles were found? Bishop says because in case her pump wasn't working. 

02:19 p.m.
Prosecutor asks if Bishop worked at the time living with Willis. Bishop says no because she is on disability. Says she is on an insulin pump. 

02:17 p.m. 
Bishop is Willis' ex-wife. Bishop knew Willis for 18 years. 

02:16 p.m. 
Defense ends questioning. Attorneys have sidebar with judge. Calls Charlene Bishop to the stand. 
 

02:09 p.m. 
Defense asks if any of the homemade videos were a 'snuff' type of video. Analyst says no. 

02:06 p.m.
Defense asks if there's any other jogger videos? Analyst says there is another one where a women jogging is abducted and brought to an abandon house where she was rape and killed. Defense asks analyst to define a 'snuff' film? Analyst answers its a video in which someone is murdered and raped. Defense asks if any of those films involve Willis. Analyst says no they did not. 

02:04 p.m.
Defense moves to 'the jogger' video. Asks if analyst knew when the video was created? Analyst says no. Defense asks if anyone in the video was Rebekah or Willis? Analyst says no.  

02:02 p.m.
Prosecutor ends questioning. Defense takes over. Defense goes back to hard drive folders and asks if there was a timestamp on the photos in the RSB folder. Analyst says those were created after her death. 

02:00 p.m.
Prosecutor moves on to desktop computer found in Herman Miller that Willis has a username account for. Prosecutor asks as it related to Rebekah was there anything related to her. Analyst says yes there was a picture on the desktop. Prosecutor asks if analyst came across the name Kevin Bluhm. Analyst says he searched and found nothing. 

01:58 p.m. 
Prosecutor asks if any of the internet history was readily available? Analyst says it had to be recovered. The internet history was deleted. 

01:50 p.m. 
Prosecutor moves on to searches on a computer found in Willis' home. Analyst says there was Amazon searches for Walther (a hand gun) holster, silencer, etc.   

01:47 p.m.
Prosecutors asks if there were any videos of co-workers? Analyst says yes there is video of women walking in parking lots to cars. Analyst says can depict some license plates of the women. One of those cars was owned by Michelle Schnotala. 

01:43 p.m.
Outside of the website videos, Prosecutor asks if analyst found other videos? Analyst says he found several homemade videos that were created with a Sony video camera. Analyst says several thousand videos were created. Prosecutor asks if any of those videos was anyone related to Willis? Analyst says yes. Analyst says he found videos of Willis' neighbors. He says they were being recorded at night through blinds, recording a woman undressing. 

01:39 p.m. 
Prosecutor asks analyst where do people find this stuff? Analyst says you have to go to a number of different websites to find these kinds of videos. Analyst says a lot of these videos have the websites name embedded in the video. Analyst goes on to share some of the websites. 

01:36 p.m. 
Court back in session. Analyst begins describing ' the jogger' video: the video depicts a female on a secluded rode jogging. She stops and takes out her cell phone and there's audio to video as well and she calls someone on her cell phone and explains to that person that she believes she's being followed talks to this person for a half minute to a minute. Then hangs up with this person and continues jogging down the road. A short distance later she's attacked by an adult male that jumps out of a wooded area between trees and bushes. Adult male grabs her she resists and starts fighting to try and get away but he is able to capacitate her and render her unconscious then drags here by her arms to a waiting mini van. That van is parked down the road. She is dragged to the van. The male opens the door and puts the female in lays her down and removes her clothing and rapes her. 

11:59 p.m. 
Examination stops for lunch break. Will resume back at 1:30 p.m. 

11:57 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks if he recalls seeing a video called the jogger? McCarthy says yes. It was an 11:31 video created March 8, 2014. 

11:54 a.m.
Prosecutor goes back to external hard drive. Analyst says there were thousands of video saved. Saved in different folders and sub folders, all user created. Analyst says there was consistent theme of videos, they involved the kidnapping and abducting of women, these women after kidnapped were restrained with ropes and chains, handcuffs. "They were violently rapped and tortured in these videos and the end result is that they were murdered," McCarthy said. Killed in several different ways, gunshots, stabbed, drowned in a bathtub, suffocated, etc.  

11:52 am
RSV folder showed pictures of Rebekah as well as a few webpages saved. One image found analyst was uncertain if it was Bletsch. 

11:47 a.m. 
Prosecutor pulls up photos of what was on external hard drive. McCarthy says folder titled 'Vics'  with sub folders created by user. The folders were titled, 'RSB (FZ+c14)'. Analyst decoded that and came to conclusion Rebekah Sue Bletsch (6-29-2014) . Folder created 6-1-2014. 

11:44 a.m. 
Expert says one hard drive was a back up or copy of the other. Had the same information on both. Prosecutor brings up a flash drive that was also examined. Prosecutor asks if password document was found in flash drive? McCarthy says yes. He says it had a list of username and password for several different websites email addresses, bank accounts, all that information showed that belong to Willis. 

11:43 a.m.
Prosecutor asks what was the significance in the external hard drives he was asked to examine. He says they were both plugged into the main computer that was in Willis' bedroom. 

11:41 a.m. 
Prosecutor questions McCarthy of what is it that he does to protect  the information inside a hard drive. 

11:40 a.m.
Asks about his employment with MSP. Hands it back over to Prosecutor's office. 

11:38 a.m. 
Defense takes questioning. 

11:33 a.m. 
Prosecutor calls specialist Gerald McCarthy to the stand. Works for Michigan State Police in the Computer Crime unit at the Grand Rapids office. Shares his past experience to show expertise in computer forensics. 

11:32 a.m. 
Defense asks if there is any indication Bluhm could have have left tournament? Det. says they all arrived in the same vehicle and stayed there all day. Defense has no further questions. 

11:30 a.m.
Prosecutor asks if after the defendant was arrested did the the name Kevin Bluhm came up? Det. says yes. The Prosecutor asks if they were able to determine where Blum was the time of the homicide? Det. says yes he was at his daughter's soccer tournament.  

11:29 a.m. 
Defense brings up PayPal and Ebay accounts and asks Det. if there is anyway to indicate those passwords couldn't be shared with anyone else? Detective says no. Defense has no further questions. 

11:28 a.m. 
Defense begins questioning. 

11:18 a.m.
Prosecutor moves on to Meijer transactions connected to Willis' account. Prosecutor asks what is of significance in purchases. Det says an item listed is Meijer brand lubricating jelly. Det. says the reason that was significant is because the same brand was found in Willis' tool box. 

11:17 a.m. 
Document of bank statement shows the withdrawal of the checking account that goes into PayPal account to pay for Ebay item.  

11:15 a.m. 
Pulls up PayPal document, an account attached to Willis. Safe is bought through Ebay and paid through PayPal account. 

11:12 a.m. 
Prosecutor brings up a document of an Ebay account the Det. subpoenaed. The account was under Willis' name. Prosecutor asks what Willis purchased. Det reads list of items won by the user (Willis): new compact mini storage, purchased April 8, 2014. Prosecutor asks why it was significant, because the gun found in Willis vehicle was stored in similar safe. 

11:08 a.m.
Prosecutor pulls up a photo of intersection of River and Weber Road, that Det. took. Det identifies photos of that intersection and the general area. 

11:06 a.m.
 Prosecutor asks if Kevin Bluhm's (Willis' cousin) name was ever brought up? Det. says no. Asks if there was ever any solid suspects? Det. says no. 
 

11:05 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks about the process of trying to find Rebekah's killer. Three month task force took over, after the three months the case was never put aside. Continued to follow on many leads. 
 

11:04 a.m. 
Court back in session. 

10:40 a.m. 
Brief recess is taken. 

10:37 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks about earbud usage. Det. says the headphones were last used around 5:41 p.m. there was an interruption (from a phone call) and then used again at 6:02 p.m. 

10:36 a.m.
Prosecutor asks about texts and missed calls. Det. said there were both but none that would indicate how or why she died. 

10:35 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks about last incoming calls. Det. says the last call Rebekah  answered was from her daughter's cell. Prosecutor asks about outgoing calls. Det. says the last outgoing phone call was also to Rebekah's  daughter. All hours before the shooting. 
 

10:34 a.m.
Prosecutor asks Det. the scene where Rebekah was found. Goes on to ask about the cell phone. It was turned over to Ferris to analyze the data in it. 

10:32 a.m. 

Detective Lisa Freres takes the stand. 

10:31 a.m.
Defense asks but if the witness knew how long had he been in on the property prior to clocking in. Witness says all they know is when the employee manually swipes in. 

10:30 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks what time did he work? She says she recalls he came in on time at 9:45 p.m. 

10:30 a.m. 
Defense asks if Willis was working the day Rebekah was shot? She says yes.

10:29 a.m. 
Defense up for questioning. 

10:28 a.m. 
Shows image of some kind of kit with blue nitro gloves. Prosecutor asks witness are those used? Witness says yes. Prosecutor asks would Willis have access to those? Prosecutor says yes. 

10:24 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks about hours worked the first week of March for Willis and Schnotala. Witness says Schnotala worked all week. Willis took a few days off. 

10:23 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks if Willis worked with Schnotala . She says yes. 

10:22 a.m. 
Prosecutor calls {inaudible} Mogenberg to the stand. She works in HR at Herman Miller. 

10:21 a.m. 
 No further questions.  

10:20 a.m. 
Defense has no further questions. Prosecutor follows up with another question, asks Foster you don't have to be a marksman to shoot a target? Foster says absolutely true. 

10:19 a.m. 
Defense asks if the sight cover that's been shown, is there anyway to link that to the cover the prosecutor showed Foster. Foster says it is the same brand. 

10:18 a.m. 
About the laser sight. Asks if they are common. Foster says yes. 

10:14 a.m. 
Defense asks how population is .22 caliber gun ammunition? He says pretty popular. He says he sells about 50 boxes a day. 

10:13 a.m.
Prosecutor has no further questions. 

10:11 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks what a serial number on a gun does. Foster explains. Prosecutor asks what happens if the serial number is gone? Foster says it makes the gun untraceable. 

10:09 a.m. 
Prosecutor shows image of gun, asks if he sold it. He says yes, his wife did. Asks what came with the gun. Foster asks what came with it. A laser sight, a few batteries, etc. 

10:07 a.m. 
Prosecutor calls Gary Foster to the stand. He owns Gary Guns. 

10:05 a.m. 
Defense has no further questions. Prosecutor asks Schnotala  again if there was every any need for her to sell her underwear and her gun? She says no need. Witness leaves the stand. 


10:02 a.m.
Defense goes back to Schnotala identifying the gun. He asks how did she know that was her gun? She says because it was her gun. Defense asks how do you know those underwear were your exact underwear? She says because my DNA was on them. Defense says because the Prosecutor's told you that right? Defense asks if Schnotala sold the items to Willis. She says no.  

10:01 a.m. 
Defense reiterates what Prosecutor asks regarding where th gun was located.

9:57 a.m. 
Defense asks how many times did he ask for underwear. Schnotala says over 50 times. 

9:56 a.m. 
Prosecutor has no further questions.

9:54 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks if Willis ever asked for her underwear in the past? She says yes. Prosecutor asks if Schnotala ever gave Willis her gun? She says no never. 


9:52 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks Schnotala again if she kept the gun in the same closet she kept her dirty clothes. Schnotala says yes. Prosecutor then shows Schnotala  a pair of underwear and asks if it is hers, she says yes. Prosecutor tells Schnotala these were found in Willis' shed and asks if she gave them to him, she says no. 

9:48 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks if she moved the guns. Schnotala says she moves them around the house when they go out of town. Prosecutor asks whens the last time she saw the gun in her home. Schnotala responds in February when her husband's friend came in town. Prosecutor asks when's the last she saw it after that, Schnotala says at the preliminary hearing. 

9:47 a.m.
Prosecutor asks if she locked her house regularly? She says not usually, only if they're going somewhere overnight or for the weekend. 

9:46 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks where Schnotala kept the gun. She says she kept it in her closet. 

9:45 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks is Schnotala had conversations with Jeffrey Willis about the gun. She says she had several conversations, over five. 

9:42 a.m. 
Prosecutor asks Schnotala is she is a gun owner. Schnotala says her husband bought her a gun. 

9:40 a.m. 
Michelle Schnotala takes the stand. She is a former co-worker of Jeffrey Willis at Herman Miller. 

►Related: Day 5: Jeffrey Willis' trial

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