Jury selection for Jeffrey Willis trial begins

Jury selection continues in Muskegon for Jeffrey Willis trial

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MICH. - The trial of accused killer, Jeffrey Willis, starts today in Muskegon County. Willis is on trial for the 2014 murder of Rebekah Bletsch. Prosecutors say Willis shot and killed Bletsch while she was running on Automobile Road in June of that year.

As with most trials, attorneys will begin with jury selection. However that could take much longer in this high-profile case. The case has gained national attention since Willis was arrested and charged last year.

►Related: Motion denied: Evidence from home of Jeffrey Willis can be used at trial

Attorneys, for the prosecution and defense, will begin by examining a pool of 125 potential jurors. If they are unable to impanel a 12 member jury with 2 alternates, an additional 125 people will come in each day until a panel is seated.

Police efforts to find Bletsch's murderer were growing cold for nearly two years. Then, Jeffrey Willis became the suspect in the kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl. Investigators say they found a gun in his vehicle matching bullets found in the body of Rebekah Bletsch.

Willis is also charged in the kidnapping of Bletsch and the 2013 kidnapping and murder of Jessica Heeringa, whose body still hasn't been found. Trial dates for those crimes have not been set.

If lawyers cannot find enough unbiased people in Muskegon County to hear the case, the judge has left open the option of moving the trial to another county. If done, it would re-start the jury selection process.

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