Proposed law would make those convicted of crimes listen to victim impact statements

Posted at 10:29 PM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-21 23:19:33-05

It’s a story that is sure to strike a nerve - a convicted killed blows a kiss and gives the victim’s family the middle finger as they prepared to make their final statement to the murderer.

An impact statement is a highly emotional moment, granted by the judge to give the family a chance to confront the killer one last time.

But turns out there is no law requiring Jeffrey Willis to stay in the courtroom and listen to the family of Rebecca Bletsch.

Willis was convicted of shooting and killing her back in 2014.

Think about this: you’re loved one has been murdered, you prepare an emotional speech in hopes to express how devastated you are - you relive it all over again, but right before you speak, the killer - walks out, blows you a kiss - and gives the middle finger.

One state representative says this should not be allowed.

“I thought what he did was outrageous and insensitive to the family,” says Holly Hughes.

She says something must be done to prevent a murderer from walking out of the courtroom right before the family of the victim is ready to make their impact statement.

 “To blow a kiss at them and walk out of the room,” she says. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Hughes is talking about how convicted killer Jeffrey Willis asked a Muskegon County judge to leave before the family of 36-year-old Rebecca Bletsch was getting ready to make a statement.

As he left, Willis blew the family a kiss and gave them the middle finger.

“He just flipped us all off,” Bletsch sister Jessica Josephson said in court. “He deserves to sit there wondering if everyday is his last day. It will never bring my sister back. We’ll always miss her.”

During our telephone interview, Hughes said she’s still in disbelief a convicted killer had the nerve to blow a kiss to the victim’s family.

Now she is determined to make a law to make killers like Willis - sit down and shut up while the family speaks.

“I think it was appalling he was allowed to walk out,” she says. “I think its part of victim’s rights to make a statement after they’ve been convicted.”

Jeffrey Willis did get to hear what the family had to say. A Muskegon County Sheriff’s Deputy drove Willis to Jackson prison and he played a CD of the family’s victim’s statement over and over and over - the entire two-hour drive there.