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Protesters greet Bluhm as he walks out of jail

By Jaleesa Irizarry/WZZM-TV • Updated Jan 9, 2018 at 8:15 PM

MUSKEGON — When Kevin Bluhm walked out of the Muskegon County Jail late Tuesday afternoon, he was confronted by about a dozen protestors chanting, "Your silence killed."

In the Jessica Heeringa case, Bluhm pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact of murder in November 2017. His cousin, Jeffrey Willis, is scheduled to go on trial in March for the murder of Heeringa, whose body has never been found.

The court sentenced Bluhm to 476 days and credited his 476 days served and some fines on Tuesday. The judge also sentenced him to five years probation with a GPS tether.

Many of the protesters outside the jail were friends and relatives of Rebekah Bletsch. Willis was convicted for the murder of Bletsch in October 2017, and Bletsch's family believes that Bluhm is partially responsible for the deaths of Bletsch and Heeringa for not going to police with the information.

"Killer cousins," "Where is Jessica" and "Becky should be here" were all chants that could be heard as the protesters marched around the block for hours after the sentencing. The group believes Bluhm shouldn't have been released and feel uneasy knowing he'll be walking the streets.

"We're unsafe,” said Shannon Brannom, a friend of the Bletsch family. “I have children, I have grandchildren, everyone here has families, and we don't want him on our streets."

Bletsch’s mother, Debra Reamer, believes Bluhm holds some of the blame in her daughter's murder.

"If he had stepped forward, I'd be fine,” she said. “I'd have my daughter and maybe we'd find out where Jessica Heeringa is — but without that, everybody's hurting.”

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