Jeffrey Willis’ co-worker testifies about gun, underwear requests

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MUSKEGON, Mich. — A third day of testimony in the preliminary hearing of Jeffrey Willis is underway in Muskegon.

Willis is accused of killing gas station clerk Jessica Heeringa in April 2013.  Heeringa was last seen working at a Norton Shores Exxon station on April 25, 2013. She disappeared before her shift was over. Her body has not been found.

Willis was arrested in April 2016 after he allegedly abducted a teen.  That girl was able to get away and identify Willis.  Since his arrest in April, Willis has been tied to the Heeringa disappearance and to the murder of Rebekah Bletsch in 2014.

The hearing Monday is the third of testimony to determine if there is enough evidence to send Willis to trial for Heeringa's murder.

The first witness Monday afternoon was David Hayhurst, a forensic scientist with the Michigan State Police.  He testified about testing a pair of pink underwear found during a search of Willis' belongings for DNA evidence.  Hayhurst also said he found Willis' DNA on a handgun found during the searches.  The handgun has been tied to Bletsch's murder. The DNA in the underwear belonged to Michelle Schnotala.

Schnotala was called to the stand next.  She worked with Willis for several years at Herman Miller.  Schnotala testified she owned the handgun found in Willis' possession and she had last seen the gun in Feb. 2013.  She also testified that Willis would ask her for her underwear at times.  She says she never gave him any.  Two pairs of her underwear were found in a shed on Willis' property.

Dana Chicklas is in court and tweeting developments.  You can follow her here.  

Day 4 of the preliminary hearing begins at 2:00pm on Tuesday.

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