Hearing on bill requiring offenders to hear victim impact statements

Jeffery Willis inspired legislation

LANSING, MICH. - Michigan lawmakers will hold a hearing Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 on legislation, inspired by the Jeffrey Willis murder case in Muskegon County.

In November, Willis was convicted in the 2014 murder of Rebekah Bletsch. At his sentencing in December Willis told the judge he did not want to hear Bletsch's family make their victim impact statements, and he left the courtroom.

 Representative Holly Hughes of Muskegon County introduced the bill, that would require anyone convicted of a crime to be forced to hear those statements.

“This bill is my top priority this year, so I’m moving forward rapidly with the committee chairman, who has agreed to take it up quickly," said Hughes . “Rebekah Bletsch’s family deserved to be heard on Dec. 18, so I appreciate my House colleagues will hear from this family on Tuesday ( Feb. 6 ).”

Bletsch's family is scheduled to testify.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen the importance of victims and their families speaking in court,” said Rep. Klint Kesto, chair of the Law and Justice Committee. “As a former prosecutor, supporting victims is a priority. I look forward to hearing from the Bletsch family on Tuesday and working to make certain the victims are heard.”

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