MUSKEGON, Mich. -- (WXMI) -- Jeffrey Willis has been sentenced to life in prison for abducting and killing convenience store clerk Jessica Heeringa in 2013.
Judge William Marrietti delivered the sentence Monday morning.
In a 13-minute statement, Willis addressed the court Monday: he maintained his innocence and made claims that police botched the investigation and manipulated the evidence against him. He maintained that he was trying to help the teen in April 2016, when he was arrested after trying to abduct her.
"Due to a lack of funding, a careless disregard for truth, the desire to reach a rash and attentive conclusion to an unproven crime, or just plain falsifying evidence, not only has this promise [of justice] been murdered, but also left to rot at the feet of lady justice," said Willis reading his statement.
Willis is still awaiting trial on that abduction, but Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson says he has to speak with people, including victims, about whether to continue to pursue or drop these pending charges.
After his arrest in 2016, investigators tied a gun found in Willis' van to the bullets used to kill Rebekah Bletsch while she was jogging in June 2014. They also found other evidence that tied Willis to Heeringa's disappearance in April 2013.
On May 16, jurors deliberated for less than two hours before finding Willis guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the April 2013 kidnapping and death of Heeringa, a clerk at the former Exxon Mobil gas station in Norton Shores. Her body has not been found.
No one from Heeringa's family addressed the court, while family members of Rebekah Bletsch sat in attendance. Many of Jessica's family maintain that because her body hasn't been found, her murder is still not conclusive.
Willis is already serving a life sentence for the 2014 murder of Bletsch.