FOX News reports that Jeffrey Willis was convicted of killing a 36-year-old woman in Michigan and subsequently sentenced to life in prison. Willis made headlines when he blew a kiss to the courtroom as he was leaving during the sentencing hearing. The judge, William Marietti, approved his request to forego listening to the statements from the victim’s family.
Willis was convicted in the shooting death of Rebekah Bletsch while she was jogging in Muskegon County in 2014. After blowing the kiss, shouts of “coward” followed after him out the courtroom.
He was first arrested last year after he was accused of trying to kidnap a teenager. From there, investigators were able to link him to the Bletsch murder case and the disappearance of a gas station clerk, Jessica Heeringa, in 2013.
Upon investigating Willis’ van, police found a gun, rope, chains, syringes and handcuffs, as well as a file in his computer with Bletsch’s initials and date of death.
Willis pleaded not guilty to the murder charges, but the jury convicted him in short order in November. Although Bletsch’s family was upset about Willis leaving the courtroom during their statements, the judge stated there was no law requiring him to stay.
Willis has yet to go to trial for the Heeringa case. Her body has not been found, though Willis’ cousin has already led police to a site that was allegedly her place of burial.
Kevin Bluhm was questioned by police three years after Heeringa disappeared. He stated that he witnessed Heeringa’s dead body in the basement of Willis’ grandfather’s house, tied up, according to MLive.com.
Bluhm also claimed he helped dispose of the body and led police to the site, but digs did not yield any body or evidence. He later recanted his statements to police. He is currently facing accessory after the fact charges in Muskegon County.
*Photo credit Associated Press