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Eighth day of Willis trial adjourns hours earlier than expected

Emma Nicolas / WZZM-TV • Oct 27, 2017 at 6:19 PM

MUSKEGON — It's unclear why defense attorney Fred Johnson waited to admit an 18-hour interview transcript between Kevin Bluhm and police, but the request led to an early adjournment on Friday.

The prosecutor rested his case prior to lunch recess, and the defense was expected to begin their case around 1:45 p.m. by calling Kevin Bluhm, Willis' cousin to the stand. Bluhm immediately pleaded the Fifth Amendment, as testifying in this case could be self incriminating.

Once Bluhm stepped down from the stand, Johnson asked to enter Bluhm's 18-hour interview with police as evidence.

The prosecutor said the statements made in that interview are “99 percent information received from Willis,” adding that most of Bluhm's statements are exculpatory, which would not help the defense's case.

Johnson said they are not considering most of Bluhm's statements to be true. He clarified there are statements in the interview that incriminate Bluhm, which is what they would like to use the transcript in their case.

One example Johnson provided was that Bluhm admitted to handling the firearm used to kill Rebekah Bletsch.

Judge William Marietti offered two options to the defense: either proceed with the trial and deal with evidence later, or adjourn the court and sort out the evidence before proceeding.

The defense chose to adjourn in order to spend the rest of the afternoon preparing a motion regarding that interview transcript.

"I wonder did they do this on purpose, a little bit of common sense here. But maybe not, maybe it was just an oops," said Bletsch's sister, Jennifer Josephson.

Both the judge and prosecutor expressed their disappointment that this evidence was not filed sooner, but Johnson said he was not going to get into “why it wasn't.”

The judge called the jury back in to let them know court would be adjourning until next week. Marietti apologized to jurors and asked that they call on Monday evening to determine if they will be needed Tuesday morning.

The judge reminded Johnson that he is only one person to get through quite a bit of evidence.

"We are very anxious to get this going, move forward to have a verdict, and to have another day, maybe two more days, where we are just waiting, it is very frustrating," said Josephson.

The trial was previously expected to conclude on Tuesday.

Marietti also squashed a subpoena filed by the defense with the sheriff's department. Prosecutor D.J. Hilson said the subpoena was an attempt to circumvent discovery by the defense.

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