MUSKEGON, Mich. -- As the defense presented their case in day seven of testimony in the Rebekah Bletsch murder trial, her accused killer Jeffrey Willis took the stand.
Willis denied killing Bletsch or being involved with the 2013 disappearance of Jessica Heeringa.
Bletsch was shot and killed while jogging near her home June 29, 2014. Willis was arrested in May of 2016, after an alleged attempted abduction of a 16-year-old teen girl lost, walking home from a party. Willis is also accused of kidnapping and murdering Jessica Heeringa in 2013, but her body has never been found.
At times the exchange between Willis and Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson were snarky and a bit heated, with Hilson telling him not to be "cute" and answer the questions.
First, Willis says his former Herman Miller co-worker Michelle Schnotala sold her Walther P22 gun to him in 2013, with its serial number already scratched off. Experts testified that gun matched ballistics to the bullets found in Bletsch and at the murder scene in June 2014. He also said Schnotala gave him her underwear.
Both attorneys asked Willis about the tens of thousands of gory "rape capture kill" videos of real women's murders saved on his hard drives. Willis testified that he downloaded those videos, though says he did not watch them all.
When the prosecutor asked why would he have these, Willis explained that his wife at the time, who testified last week, had an abortion, that their sex life stopped and that these brutal videos were his "outlet."
Willis slightly tripped over his words when testifying about the MJN case, where a 16-year-old previously testified that Willis tried to abduct her and held a gun to her in April 2016.
"At first I thought I should stop, but she wasn't quite where I needed--she was on the other side of the road. So I turned down Weber and thought 'Well, I'll go and see if she needs any help,'" Willis testified on Wednesday.
The jury could hear Willis stop himself after saying the teen, who FOX 17 is identifying only as MJN, was not "quite where he needed," turning back around to see if she needed a ride. MJN previously testified that she did not ask for a ride but to use his phone because she was lost.
There were several discrepancies in Wednesday's testimony between Willis and previous experts. At one point while discussing the MJN case, Prosecutor Hilson told Willis he knew he was lying to police, but Willis said no, that he was just being "evasive." At that point, there was a muffled laugh in the courtroom when Hilson said that though Willis calls it evasive, he calls it lying.
Testimony about Willis' Kevin Bluhm
Hilson finished the state's case last Friday after almost two weeks of testimony.
The defense then caused a delay to transcribe portions of 18 hours of video testimony from Willis' cousin, Kevin Bluhm, who is in custody for being an accessory after the fact in the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Heeringa. The defense has been insinuating that Bluhm is responsible for Bletsch's death, not Willis.
Tuesday, Judge William Marietti determined that some of Bluhm's testimony would be allowed in court Wednesday, after Bluhm pleaded the Fifth Amendment last week when he briefly took the stand when the jury was out of the court room.
The first witness called by the defense was Det. Lisa Freres of the Muskegon County Sheriff's Department. She testified that Bluhm's name did come up at one point of the investigation into Bletsch's murder, but only as a person-of-interest after Willis was in question.
Police interviewed Bluhm for 18 hours in June 2016, after Willis was arrested. He said his alibi for June 29, 2014, the day Bletsch was killed, was that he was at a sand soccer tournament in Grand Haven for his daughter. There is a time-stamped photo at 3:50 p.m. of Bluhm with his son at the tournament on June 29, 2014. The drive from the tournament to the murder scene is about 40 minutes. Bletsch was killed approximately at 6:02 p.m. investigators say.
Freres testified the Bluhm traveled to the soccer tournament in one vehicle with his wife and three children. They also stopped at Walgreens after the tournament, to retrieve other family vehicles, but there is no receipt for that stop.
Under cross-examination, Freres told the court that Bluhm never left the soccer tournament alone. Also, Bluhm and his family left the tournament at about 5:40 p.m. and was at the Walgreens at about 6 p.m.