Denied: Cousin of Jeffrey Willis will face charge of being accessory in Heeringa murder

MUSKEGON, Mich. - The cousin of the suspect in the murders of two Muskegon County women will face a charge of being an accessory after the fact to a felony in the Jessica Heeringa murder case.

Kevin Bluhm was in court Monday for a motions hearing.  Judge William Marietti denied both motions: the defense's request to "quash and dismiss" Bluhm's accessory charge, and releasing Bluhm on a personal recognizance bond. Judge Marietti ruled Bluhm is a danger to the public because he admitted to police he helped with disposing a body in a murder investigation.

"I have clearly heard clear and convincing evidence that [Bluhm is] presenting a danger to the community: that being that he has admitted to the police that he assisted in the disposal of a body in a homicide investigation," said Judge Marietti Monday afternoon.

Bluhm is the cousin of Jeffrey Willis who is currently on trial for the murder of Rebekah Bletsch in June 2014.  Willis is also charged with the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Heeringa in April 2013.

Bluhm was charged as an accessory after the fact in Jessica Heeringa's murder Sept. 20, 2016, the day he was to be released after serving time for his lying to police conviction.  Bluhm originally told investigators that he helped Willis hide Heeringa's body, but then later recanted those statements. Since Heeringa's body has not been found, the defense claimed that the accessory charge should be dropped.

Bluhm was charged and convicted of lying to police. The defense argued Monday that if Bluhm was lying to police, then he couldn't have been an accessory for Willis: his statements could not both be a lie and truth.

The trial of Bluhm accused of being an accessory to Jessica Heeringa's murder is expected to begin late November.

The trial against Bluhm's cousin, Willis, in the murder of Rebekah Bletsch resumes Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

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