Jury selection for murder trial of Rebekah Bletsch on for next week

Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 18:49:36-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. -- With one week before jury selection begins for the murder trial of Muskegon mother Rebekah Bletsch, a judge denied the defense's motion that aimed to throw out some evidence police found at the accused killer's home.

Bletsch, 36, was shot and murdered while jogging near her home in Muskegon County in June 2014. In May 2016 Jeffrey Willis was charged with her murder, about one week after being arrested for abducting a 16-year-old girl who escaped. That teen testified that Willis held her at gun-point in his van. Investigators say that gun matched ballistics to the shell casings found near Bletsch's body.

Recently, Willis' defense team filed two motions: one to change the venue for this murder trial due to the attention this high-profile case received; and a second to suppress evidence found at Willis' home on South Sheridan.

Tuesday, Muskegon County Circuit Judge William Marietti ruled against the motion to suppress evidence saying in part, "We have a situation where we have an affidavit that has a very detailed and extensive recitation of facts, that the magistrate found sufficient to support probable cause."

The defense argued police did not have probable cause to search Willis' home despite having a search warrant. Tuesday the prosecution called a Muskegon County Sheriff's detective to testify about the evidence found at Willis' home, including a printed list of serial killers in a shed. Simultaneously, the detective said other officers searched Willis' van finding a Walther P22 handgun and a tool box with items including a gag and syringes.

Judge Marietti did not rule on the motion to change venues and called it "premature" before jury selection begins Tuesday Oct. 17. Attorneys say they intend to potentially call up to 500 possible jurors in order to seat an unbiased jury.