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Willis trial: Bletsch shot from behind, shooter moving around

By Jon Mills/WZZM-TV • Oct 21, 2017 at 7:00 AM

MUSKEGON — Investigators previously said jogger Rebekah Bletsch was shot multiple times in the head. On Friday, a forensic pathologist who conducted Bletsch's autopsy testified that she was shot four times on June 29, 2014, while jogging on Automobile Road in Muskegon County’s Dalton Township.

According to testimony from Dr. Brandy Shattuck, the bullets were fired from behind Bletsch and off to her side.

The doctor took the stand during the second day of testimony at the trial of Jeffrey Willis in Muskegon County Circuit Court.

Willis is charged with open murder relating to the death of Bletsch. He's also charged with the 2013 kidnapping and murder of Jessica Heeringa, and kidnapping relating to the failed abduction of a teen girl.

Shattuck testified that any one of the shots would have knocked Bletsch down immediately.

Jurors also heard testimony from retired Muskegon County Sheriff's detective Brian Harris. He told jurors that a shell casing was found in the road, another several feet away and along the road.

"It could indicate that the shooter moved, fired in the center of the road, moved toward the edge of the road and fired again," Harris said.

Testimony from some prosecution witnesses moved away from the Bletsch investigation and to evidence police found at the Exxon gas station where Heeringa was last seen. Police found gun parts behind the Exxon. Later in the trial, the Muskegon County prosecutor is expected to match those parts to the gun recovered in Willis' van.

Susan Follette told jurors she saw a man and a minivan behind the store the night Heeringa was last seen.

"What I did see was a light on the back hatch of the van and it came down and immediately came back up and went back down," she said.

Follette said the man behind the Exxon got into the driver’s seat and drove toward Old Grand Haven Road. That's the road where early on in the Heeringa investigation police recovered surveillance video of a silver van driving past.

Testimony will resume Tuesday, Oct. 24.

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