Homemade child porn charges add to case against Jeffrey Willis

Jeffrey Willis could spend life in prison for 2014 murder, April kidnapping

Jeffrey Willis
Jeffrey Willis in court for arraignment in the Rebekah Bletsch murder case. (May 25, 2016)


MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — While kidnapping and murder charges threaten to put Jeffrey Willis behind bars for the rest of his life, disturbing images of children found — and made — at his home could put him in prison for as long as four decades.

With all the charges he faces, Muskegon County prosecutors feel good about their case.

“The likelihood of this gentleman going to prison is high, in my opinion,” Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson said during Willis’s arraignment on the kidnapping charges last week.

Muskegon Township, attempted abduction, jeffrey willis
An undated courtesy photo of the scrapes that a 16-year-old girl sustained when she jumped from a moving minivan to escape an alleged attempted kidnapper.

Authorities arrested Willis on May 17 for the alleged attempted kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl along a rural county road in April. She managed to escape and wasn’t seriously hurt.

The investigation led police to Willis’ home in the 1800 block of South Sheridan Road in Muskegon Township. It was there that police say Willis hid a camera in his bathroom in June 2015 and took pictures of a young child. Police are not identifying the child or specifying an age.

Authorities conducting a search warrant at the home of Jeffrey Willis in Muskegon Township on May 17, 2016.
Authorities conducting a search warrant at the home of Jeffrey Willis in Muskegon Township on May 17, 2016.

Chief Assistant Muskegon County Prosecutor Timothy Maat said that at least two of the images Willis allegedly took were discovered on a hard drive at his home.

A woman who has lived next door to Willis for 17 years runs a day care. She declined to speak on camera Thursday but told 24 Hour News 8 that she never noticed any children around Willis’s home. She also said she never noticed him acting strangely around the young children she cared for — though she said he gave her teenage daughters a “funny feeling.”

In addition to the pictures police say Willis took himself, investigators found pornographic images of prepubescent children that had been downloaded from the Internet, according to court documents.

Willis has been charged with four counts of child sexually abusive activity that carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Because he allegedly saved the images on a computer, he was charged with four counts of using a computer to commit a crime that also carry a maximum penalty of 20 years.

Assistant Prosecutor Maat said a judge could decide to make those sentences consecutive. That means even disregarding the charges for the 2014 murder of Rebekah Bletsch and the April kidnapping, Willis faces a potential 40 years in prison.

None of the charges are linked to the photos of bound and chained females found in Willis’s possession.

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