MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

Jeffrey Willis found guilty on all counts

Jeffery Willis found guilty on all counts

Jeffrey Willis was found guilty on all counts.

The case was placed in the hands of jurors in his trial for the murder and disappearance of Jessica Heeringa, who vanished from a Norton Shores gas station in April 2013.

The prosecution and Willis's defense team concluded their final arguments Wednesday afternoon before jurors to deliberate a verdict. The prosecution pushed for a guilty verdict of first-degree murder and kidnapping of Jessica Heeringa.

In his closing argument, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson argued Jeffrey Willis methodically planned and carried out the abduction and murder of Jessica Heeringa.

"The incident that happened to Jessica Heeringa was not a random act. This was a carefully planned event," said Hilson.

Hilson pointed to several identifying marks on his silver minivan shown on security cameras that matched the description of Willis's minivan, a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan. He says Willis' cellphone pinged in the area of his grandfather's abandoned home. In the basement, a collection of empty bleach bottles were found.

Hilson argues Heeringa was killed in the basement.

"Quite frankly he created as part of his overall fantasy-- a perfect torture safe house, a sanctuary, where he can make his videos a reality," said Hilson.

Willis had an extensive collection of torture, rape, and kill videos along with a gun and fast acting insulin found in his "tool box" but no DNA tying to him the crime.

Earlier in the afternoon, the judge denied Willis' defense's request for a directed verdict of "not guilty," allowing the trial to continue before a jury.

Judge William Mariett says past court decisions allowed juries to rule in cases that only consisted of circumstantial evidence and where there was no body found.

During Willis' defense's closing argument, his attorney Fred Johnson suggested Heeringa left the gas station on her own free will.

"it is possible that she got out of the front door," Johnson said.

Johnson also suggested the man in the silver minivan captured on gas station surveillance was her drug dealer and not Willis'.

Willis will be sentenced on June 12 and faces life in prison. He is already serving a life sentence for the murder of Rebekah Bletsch.



close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off

Trending