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Michigan House: Defendants must listen to victim statements

Scales of Justice photo
Tim Evanson via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0

Defendants in Michigan would be compelled to listen to victim impact statements under legislation that has moved through the House.

The House passed the bill 105-2 Thursday in honor of the late Rebekah Bletsch, a 36-year-old who was murdered in 2014 while jogging on a western Michigan road.

In December Bletsch's convicted murderer, Jeffrey Willis, spurred further outrage for walking out of her family's victim impact statements while blowing a kiss.

The proposed law would amend the state's William Van Regenmorter Crime Victim's Rights Act with an amendatory law in Bletsch's name requiring the defendant's presence during the sentencing hearing.

The bill is now proceeding to the Senate.