Appeals court rejects request to dismiss Bletsch murder case

Rebekah Blestch Jeffrey Willis
Left: A courtesy photo of Rebekah Bletsch. Right: Jeffrey Willis in a Muskegon County courtroom on May 18, 2016.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — The trial for suspected serial killer Jeffrey Willis can now go forward after an appeals court has denied to hear his request to dismiss one of the murder cases against him.

On June 2, the Michigan Court of Appeals denied a request by Willis’ defense team to dismiss the Rebekah Bletsch murder case.

“The Court orders that the application for leave to appeal is DENIED for failure to persuade the Court of the need for immediate appellate review,” the court’s short order states.

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The defense claimed detectives and guards violated Willis’ constitutional rights when they took notes from his jail cell.

They said the notes included details about a separate kidnapping case, where Willis claimed to be the day Bletsch was killed, and an explanation for evidence found in his van.

The prosecutor said the notes were potentially incriminating, but that Willis never said they were for his attorney. The jail shared them with investigators but not the prosecutor’s office, the prosecutor wrote.

Corrections officers searched Willis’ cell two more times, combing through two envelopes marked for Willis’ attorney, court records show. While information from those envelopes was not passed onto prosecutors, the prosecution said police told them “generally” about Willis’ notes on a legal pad also found in his cell.

Willis’ attorneys could still appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

A start date for the Bletsch murder trial has not yet been scheduled.