Michigan man accused of murder, kidnapping gets 2 trials
Jeffrey Willis, the West Michigan man accused of murder and kidnapping will receive two trials. Willis will face separate trials in the murder of a gas station clerk and the kidnapping of a teenager.
A Muskegon judge decided Monday that Willis first will stand trial next month for murder and kidnapping in the 2013 disappearance of gas station clerk, Jessica Heeringa.
That will be followed by a trial in a 2016 case in which a teenager escaped his van and went to police.
Prosecutors sought to combine the cases because of their similarities.
Defense attorneys argued the cases are complex and should be treated individually.
Willis was convicted last year in a third case, the 2014 slaying of jogger Rebekah Bletsch. He's serving a life sentence for shooting Bletsch.