Key hearing in Heeringa murder case may be closed to public

MUSKEGON, MICH. - Lawyers for a man charged with murder in the 2013 disappearance of a gas station clerk in western Michigan want a key hearing in the case to take place behind closed doors.

Local media reports Jeffrey Willis' defense team this week filed a motion seeking a closed preliminary hearing. Such hearings, where a judge reviews evidence and hears testimony before deciding whether a case goes to trial, typically are open to the press and public.

Willis' attorneys say the case has received too much media attention. The motion is scheduled to be discussed Oct. 19 ahead of the Oct. 25 hearing.

Willis also is facing charges in two other cases: the fatal shooting of a 36-year-old female jogger in 2014 and the April attempted abduction of a teenage girl.

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