Archive for Friday, December 10, 1999

Murder suspect enters innocent plea

December 10, 1999

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— A Jefferson County man enters an innocent plea in the murder of 14-year-old Camille Arfmann.

Defense and prosecution attorneys argued Thursday about how long it will take to try Floyd Bledsoe, the Oskaloosa man charged with murdering 14-year-old Camille Arfmann.

Jefferson County prosecutor Jim Vanderbilt said it would take three weeks given the amount of forensics evidence he plans to introduce.

But Bledsoe's defense lawyer, John Kurth of Atchison, disagreed.

"It won't take three weeks to try the case, I know," Kurth told the court. "It will take three days."

Bledsoe, 23, entered an innocent plea to all charges.

Jefferson County District Judge Gary Nafziger set the trial for 9 a.m. Feb. 22. Trial length will be decided later.

Arfmann's body was found in a ditch on Bledsoe property in Jefferson County in the early morning hours of Nov. 8 after friends and family had reported the girl missing late Nov. 5. Bledsoe was Arfmann's brother-in-law.

Kurth waived formal reading of the charges against his client.

Nafziger told Bledsoe that if convicted on all counts he faces possible life in prison for first-degree murder, 147 months to 653 months for aggravated kidnapping and 38 months to 172 months for aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

Nafziger granted two motions presented at the hearing by Kurth and uncontested by Vanderbilt.

One asked that coroner Dr. Erik Mitchell be ordered to produce a final autopsy report on Arfmann no later than Dec. 30 and to inspect and copy all information that the prosecution or law-enforcement agencies have "to ensure defendant receives a fair and competent defense."

Nafziger ordered that the information be turned over to the defense as soon as it becomes available.

Among the requested information was "any and all reports ... regarding a Mr. Billy Summerville by Zetta Camille Arfmann or Heidi Bledsoe or Floyd Bledsoe."

Heidi Bledsoe, Arfmann's sister, is Floyd Bledsoe's wife. Arfmann had been living with the couple at the time of her disappearance.

When Arfmann first moved in with the couple, they were living in a mobile home park in Oskaloosa. Summerville also lived in the park. Kurth, at Floyd Bledsoe's preliminary hearing, said Summerville allegedly made inappropriate comments to Arfmann.

Floyd and Heidi Bledsoe moved to the outskirts of Oskaloosa, partially because of the comments, Kurth said.

Authorities originally charged Tom Bledsoe with the murder after he led them to Arfmann's body on Nov. 8. Tom Bledsoe is Floyd Bledsoe's older brother.

After almost a week in the Jefferson County Jail, Tom Bledsoe changed his story and pointed the finger at Floyd. Subsequently, Tom Bledsoe was released and Floyd Bledsoe was charged with Arfmann's murder.

In Floyd Bledsoe's preliminary hearing Nov. 29, Tom Bledsoe testified against his brother.

Floyd Bledsoe remains in the Jefferson County jail. His bond was set earlier at $500,000.

-- Donna Bergmann's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is dbergmann@ljworld.com.

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