MUSKEGON, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – A man convicted of killing a woman while she jogged in western Michigan is facing an automatic life sentence.

Jeffrey Willis is returning to court Monday in Muskegon County. He was convicted of shooting Rebekah Bletsch, one of two murder cases filed against him in the Muskegon area.

Willis was arrested in 2016 when a teenager said he tried to kidnap her. The arrest jump-started investigations of the 2014 Bletsch homicide and the 2013 disappearance of gas station clerk Jessica Heeringa.

A pistol, rope, chains, handcuffs and syringes were found in Willis’ van. The gun later was identified as the weapon used to kill Bletsch.

Willis denied any role in Bletsch’s death, but jurors quickly convicted him in November. He still faces trial in Heeringa’s disappearance – her body has never been found. Heeringa disappeared April 26 before she was set to close the station in Norton Shores. Police think she was taken against her will by someone she likely knew. Police said there was no indication of a robbery, as Heeringa’s purse, vehicle and other items were left behind at the scene. DNA testing showed a small amount of blood found outside the gas station belonged to Heeringa.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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