Convicted murderer Jeffrey Willis moved from Muskegon

Jeffrey Willis blows a kiss while leaving the courtroom ahead of his sentencing for Rebekah Bletsch's murder on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Convicted murderer Jeffrey Willis is no longer in Muskegon County.

Corrections officials say Willis was transferred from the Muskegon County Jail to the Charles Egler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson Wednesday morning.

He’s expected to be at the center for about 45 days as officials evaluate where to place him, based on his needs and the security level necessary to safely house him.

From there, the Michigan Department of Corrections will assign Willis to a permanent facility. Once Willis is processed, his case information will appear online in the MDOC’s Offender Information Tracking System.

Before Willis was sentenced Monday for Rebekah Bletsch’s murder, Muskegon County Chief Public Defender Fred Johnson asked the judge to keep Willis in the Muskegon County Jail until his trial for the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Heeringa was over. Johnson said he wanted to keep Willis in the jail to avoid long travels to Jackson to prepare for the trial.

Judge William Marietti noted the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office had voiced safety concerns for both Willis and jail staff during his stay. However, Marietti said he did not have the authority to decide where Willis would be housed – it was in the MDOC’s hands once they are sentenced.

Willis’ trial for Heeringa’s murder Is scheduled for March 6 – nearly five years after the 25-year-old mother disappeared from the Norton Shores gas station where she worked.

>>Timeline: The search for Jessica Heeringa

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