MUSKEGON, MI – After questioning his attorney’s abilities, serial killer Jeffrey Willis is getting new counsel to fight his two murder convictions.
A Muskegon County judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that the attorney previously representing Willis in the appeals process can withdraw from the case.
Willis appeared in a Muskegon County courtroom, via Zoom, for a motion hearing Tuesday, Aug. 30, after his court-appointed appellate counsel filed a motion earlier this month to withdraw herself from the case.
The 52-year-old is serving life without parole in a Michigan prison for the 2014 killing of jogger Rebekah Bletsch and the 2013 kidnapping and killing of Jessica Heeringa, an attendant at a Norton Shores gas station.
Ann M. LaBreck has represented Willis through the Court of Appeals process, but told Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti on Tuesday that her client wants “things done yesterday.”
“This has been an ongoing issue with Mr. Willis,” LaBreck said of the attorney-client relationship. “He’s going to tell you today that he still wants me on the case, which I really don’t think he does. He’s questioned, frequently, my abilities on the case.”
LaBreck said she’s had arguments with Willis about procedural rules and how court hearings run.
“In my opinion, I’ve gone above and beyond for him,” she said, adding she’s obtained hundreds of pages of documents Willis requested to prepare for an evidentiary hearing.
However, LaBreck said she has not received all materials requested – via a Freedom of Information request – from some police agencies and will not move forward with an evidentiary hearing without being prepared.
“I think at this point in time, Mr. Willis could use a new set of eyes to look at his case,” she said.
Willis somewhat disagreed.
“I think Ms. LaBreck was doing a better job than