MUSKEGON, Mich. -- (WXYZ) -- The man who admitted to helping Jeffrey Willis in the Jessica Heeringa case will be released for having served enough time in jail.
Kevin Bluhm, Willis' cousin, was sentenced to 476 days in jail, which is how long he has already served in the case. Judge William Marietti also imposed the maximum probation time, including a year on an electronic tether.
Marietti said that his job is to follow the law, which has specific guidelines for sentencing, and not do what he wants to do. Then, he pronounced the sentence.
Bluhm pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact in the Heeringa case. He had already served time for perjury in the case as well.
Heeringa, a 25-year-old Norton Shores mother, went missing in April 2013 while working the late shift at an Exxon Mobile gas station on East Sternberg Road. Bluhm previously told investigators he helped Willis dispose of Heeringa's body, sharing locations with police, and then later said he lied. Jeffrey Willis is charged with Heeringa's murder, which is set for trial March 6.
Protests gathered Tuesday outside the Muskegon County Courthouse, including family and loved ones of Rebekah Bletsch, who have collected petition signatures urging the court to keep Bluhm behind bars. When Willis was sentenced to life without parole in prison for the murder of Bletsch in December, Bletsch's sister Jessica Josephson said they believe “Bluhm is just as guilty as Willis” in the murder of her sister Becky and Jessica Heeringa.
“[Bluhm] could have prevented this knowing what he knew, and then said he didn't know and lied,” said Josephson, “he could have saved my sister's life. Had he spoke up, Becky would still be here.”