Investigators anticipate Kevin Bluhm to be released from jail after sentencing in Heeringa case

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Kevin Bluhm, the cousin of Jeffrey Willis accused of helping dispose of Jessica Heeringa’s body and convicted of lying to police, may be released for time served.

The day Bluhm, a former corrections officer, was to be set free after serving his perjury sentence in Sept. 2016, he was charged with being an accessory after the fact in Heeringa’s abduction and murder. In Oct. 2017, Muskegon Circuit Court Judge William Marietti denied motions to dismiss Bluhm’s accessory after the fact charge and release him on a personal recognizance bond, stating Bluhm was “a danger to the public.” Then in Nov. 2017, Bluhm pleaded no contest to the accessory charge, and after not posting bail, Bluhm has been incarcerated about 480 days on this charge.

Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Judge Marietti will sentence Bluhm for the accessory after the fact charge; however, he may be released for time served. Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson tells FOX 17 they anticipate Bluhm will be released from jail on probation with set terms and conditions.

Heeringa, a 25-year-old Norton Shores mother, went missing in April 2013 while working the late shift at an Exxon Mobile gas station on East Sternberg Road. Bluhm previously told investigators he helped Willis dispose of Heeringa’s body, sharing locations with police, and then later said he lied. Jeffrey Willis is charged with Heeringa’s murder, which is set for trial March 6.

Kevin Bluhm evokes his Fifth Amendment right during his cousin Jeffrey Willis’ murder trial of Rebekah Bletsch at Muskegon County circuit court Oct. 27, 2017. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

Protests are also expected Tuesday outside the Muskegon County Courthouse, including family and loved ones of Rebekah Bletsch, who have collected petition signatures urging the court to keep Bluhm behind bars. When Willis was sentenced to life without parole in prison for the murder of Bletsch in December, Bletsch’s sister Jessica Josephson said they believe “Bluhm is just as guilty as Willis” in the murder of her sister Becky and Jessica Heeringa.

“[Bluhm] could have prevented this knowing what he knew, and then said he didn’t know and lied,” said Josephson, “he could have saved my sister’s life. Had he spoke up, Becky would still be here.”

“To have Kevin Bluhm out on the streets again? I mean he doesn’t care. He has no heart and I can’t see him back in our community. As Becky’s sister, I have to do something, as her friends, we have to do something to stand up for Becky,” she said to FOX 17 after Willis’ sentencing.

Watch Bluhm’s sentencing stream live on the FOX 17 website at 1:30 p.m.

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