BLOG: Day 4 of Jeffrey Willis' trial

MUSKEGON, MICH. - The trial of Jeffrey Willis for the murder of Rebekah Bletsch continues. Friday, Oct. 20 marks the second day of testimonies and the fourth day of the entire trial. 

On Thursday, Oct. 19, jury selection was completed and opening statements were made. The jury is made up of eight men and six women.

We will be providing live updates from the courtroom here and on our Twitter.

Court ended session at 4:32 p.m and will not convene again until Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 9:30 a.m. 

4:30 p.m.

Sinclair confirms Willis voluntarily turned over his phone to police. 

4:24 p.m.

Lori Sinclair of Norton Shores Police Dept. takes the stand as a witness. Says she investigated cell phone of Jeffrey Willis. 

4:22 p.m.

Defense asks if Cpl. Hare ever heard mention of Rebekah Bletsch while investigating tips on Heeringa's dissapearance. Hare replies "no."

4:19 p.m.

Prosecutor continues playing out the rest of the recording followed by another voicemail he left saying he does not actually need to interview Mrs. Willis any longer. 

4:18 p.m.

Before the recording can play out - defense asks to approach the bench. 

4:17 p.m.

Hare says he was informed he called Willis' wife, and prosecutor plays recording of the voicemail that Hare left on Willis' wife voicemail. 

4:16 p.m.

Hare says he then investigated the silver van which was just recently detailed - vacuum marks on the floor. 

4:15 p.m.

Hare asked Willis (on May 7) for his cell phone, but Willis said his wife had his phone.

4:13 p.m.

Willis says he left the house at 12:30 a.m. on April 27, 2013, to go to his grandfather's house. 

4:12 p.m.

Hare says Willis told him he was at the Exxon station around the 5 o'clock hour and bought mints. Willis says he knew Heeringa when asked by Hare. Willis says he was at home from around 9 pm until midnight. 

4:10 p.m.

Hare says he went to Willis' home. Hare spoke with Willis outside on the front porch of his home on May 7. 

4:09 p.m.

On May 7, 2013, Hare says he investigated the tip that claimed a man in a red sweatshirt who drives a silver van frequented the gas station and acted strange. That man was Jeffrey Willis. 

4:09 p.m.

Tip #268 handed to Hare as evidence. Hare took tips on the case, says they received over 1,000 tips. 

4:04 p.m.

Corporal Chris Hare of the Norton Shores Police Dept. takes the stand. 

4:03 p.m.

Defense asks if anyone mentioned Rebekah Bletsch that night at the gas station. Hoeksema says no.

4:01 p.m.

Defense asks if it is possible to open the back door to the gas station from the outside. Hoeksema says not that he can recall. 

3:58 p.m.

Batteries and blood stains discovered by Hoeksema behind the gas station where Heeringa worked - shown as evidence. 

3:53 p.m.

Hoeksema says the cash register drawer was not rifled through, and there was a jacket and purse in the back room. The purse belonged to Heeringa. 

3:50 p.m.

Corporal Joel Hoeksema of Norton Shores, called to the stand. He was dispatched to the Exxon station off Sternberg for a suspicious situation on April 26. 

3:48 p.m.

Defense asks if Follett has ever met Bletsch, and she replies no. 

3:47 p.m.

Only vehicles in the lot were Jessica's and the gray mini van that night, Follett says. 

3:46 p.m.

Minutes after she returned home Follett says she got a phone call from the owner of the station. 

3:45 p.m.

Follett says the man she saw had a bright red shirt with long sleeves. 

3:45 p.m.

"Yeah, I will correct you, buddy," Follett says to the prosecutor after he admits to asking a bad question.

3:44 p.m.

Follett says there is only one service exit in the middle of the back of the station. 

3:43 p.m.

Follett takes a moment as she sobs recounting the moment when the gray minivan turned right as she turned left. 

3:41 p.m.

Follett says the man then went to the driver's seat and began driving and turned the headlights back on.

3:40 p.m.

Follett says she couldn't see exactly what was happening by the van because it was dark, but she watched the trunk hatch close and open and close again.

3:37 p.m.

Follett says she did not feel right about what she saw, so she went back to the Exxon. 

3:34 p.m.

An emotional Follett says she saw a gray mini van driving on Sternberg Road. She says she saw the van's lights switch off and do a U-turn behind the station. She says this didn't sit right with her. Mr. Willis drives a silver minivan.

3:32 p.m.

Follett says she was riding her motorcycle with her ex-husband on the evening of April 26, 2013. 

3:31 p.m.

Susan Follett, employee of Sternberg Road Exxon, called to the stand.

3:30 p.m.

Defense asks Harpster if there was a light on in the back of the gas station. Harpster says he doesn't recall.

3:29 p.m.

Defense asks Harpster if he knew Rebekah Bletsch. Harpster says "no, I'd seen her jogging before."

3:28 p.m.

Harpster says he knew Heeringa, not personally, but he'd seen her in the shop before.

3:23 p.m.

Harpster says no one was inside the Exxon station when he entered the same evening as Mosley. Says he did not feel good about it, so he searched for an employee then called the police. 

3:20 p.m.

Craig Harpster, employee of G.E. Aviation, takes the stand. 

3:17 p.m.

"No mistake," says witness Susan Mosley, when asked if she knew for certain that Jessica Heeringa waited on her at the Exxon Mobile at 10:52 p.m. Mosley bought a lighter from the gas station and Heeringa was working the cash register. Mosley says Heeringa seemed in a good mood, and Mosley did not recall any other patrons in the store.

Susan Mosley, frequent customer at the gas station where Jessica Heeringa worked, called to the stand.

10 minute recess. 

2:55 p.m.

No evidence exists of incapacitation prior to gunshot wounds. A sexual assault examination collected at time of autopsy.

2:54 p.m.

Shattuck says her experience is limited in identifying trauma from rape, but she has seen trauma in victims who have fought back and those who have not due to incapacitation or otherwise. 

2:52 p.m.

Prosecutor asks if it's possible to show no trauma in a situation where a rape victim is unable to fight back, or incapacitated. Defense objects. Judge allows witness to continue. 

2:51 p.m.

"No obvious trauma to any of the genitalia," says Shattuck. But swabs and samples were collected and given to law enforcement.

Shattuck says she did not have any knowledge of Bletsch having diabetes. 

2:50 p.m.

Shattuck says they were not able to tell which gunshot wound happened first or which one was fatal. She clarifies there was 3 entrance wounds

2:46 p.m.

Shattuck explains she documents and photographs all clothing ,etc., and passes it along to the law enforcement agency responsible for investigating. 

2:42 p.m.

Shattuck said the cause of death was gunshot wounds. Says no needle injection sites located on the body. 

2:40 p.m.

Defense says all he knows about Dr. Shattuck's job is what he's seen on TV. Then asks if the pieces of evidence are kept separate. 

Defense: "How do you know which [bullet fragment] is which?"

Shattuck says they keep each bullet fragment separate. 

2:32 p.m.

Defense questions if Dr. Shattuck qualifies as an expert in toxicology. Renews his objection. Judge allows Dr. Shattuck to continue testifying on insulin effect on the body. 

2:30 p.m.

Prosecutor asks Dr. Shattuck the effect of insulin on a person's body, and the defense objects - says this is not Shattuck's expertise. 

2:25 p.m.

Shattuck says fourth gunshot wound was more difficult to find on right side of Bletsch's scalp. 

2:23 p.m.

Emotions run high as photos of bullet wounds shown. Woman wearing "Remembering Rebekah" shirt lets out a sob and is escorted out of the courtroom. 

2:15 p.m.

Shattuck says there were four different gun shot wounds on Bletsch's head, bruises around her eyes and abrasions on her face and wrists. 

2:14 p.m.

Shattuck conducted autopsy of Bletsch's body the day after her body was found.

2:08 p.m.

Defense asks if Shattuck in her 15 to 20 times testifying- she has ever been brought by a defense attorney. She replies she's done some civil cases, but not as a criminal defense witness.

2:02 p.m.

Witness, Dr. Brandy Shattuck, forensic pathologist in Muskegon Co. Medical Examiner office and professor, takes the stand. 

1:54 p.m.

Defense asks to open evidence bag containing fragmented pieces of the bullets found by the medical examiner during the autopsy. 

1:52 p.m.

"Certainly could indicate the shooter shot one shot where the shell [on the roadway] was located and then moved to the West," Harris says.  

1:47 p.m.

Harris says he did not find any actual bullets at the scene- just shell casings. Found one shell casing in the roadway and two relatively close to each other in nearby grass.

1:40 p.m.

Harris describes evidence he discovered at the scene where Bletsch's body was found. 

1:37 p.m. 

Retired Muskegon County detective, Brian Harris, takes the stand. 

►Related: Defense points finger at Willis' cousin in opening statements of murder trial

We will have extended coverage of the trial on our website and the WZZM 13 app.

 

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