- Associated Press - Thursday, May 10, 2018

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan’s Senate has passed a bill requiring defendants to listen to victim impact statements, diminishing the chances the man convicted of killing Rebekah Bletsch will be able to walk away from such statements during his next murder trial.

Lawmakers voted unanimously Thursday for the legislation created to honor Bletsch, a 36-year-old who was murdered in 2014 while jogging in western Michigan. In December her convicted murderer, Jeffrey Willis, left the courtroom during victim statements - while blowing a kiss and flashing an obscene hand gesture.

Should Gov. Rick Snyder sign the legislation, which first goes back to the House, it could become law should Willis be sentenced in another trial unfolding now. He’s accused of murdering 25-year-old Jessica Heeringa.

Willis’ attorney says no evidence connects his client with the crime.

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