MUSKEGON, Mich. — A trial has been delayed until May for a man charged with murder and kidnapping in the 2013 disappearance of a western Michigan gas station clerk.

A Muskegon County Circuit Court Judge William Marietti on Friday granted a motion by Jeffrey Willis’ lawyer to adjourn the trial that had been scheduled for March. Jessica Heeringa disappeared April 26, 2013, from Norton Shores. Her body hasn’t been found.

Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson opposed the delay, saying the trial will be similar to one that took place last year in which Willis was convicted of killing jogger Rebekah Bletsch in 2014. Willis is serving a life sentence for shooting Bletsch.

Defense lawyer Frederick Johnson said more time was needed in part to get a transcript from that trial.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.