Wife proclaims husband’s innocence in girl’s death

OSKALOOSA — Within 45 minutes Monday, first-degree murder charges were filed against one Bledsoe brother while the same charges against another were dropped.

Her sister was killed. Her husband is charged with the murder.

Monday afternoon, Heidi Bledsoe was proclaiming her husband’s innocence.

“I just know Floyd didn’t do it,” Heidi Bledsoe said moments after Floyd Scott Bledsoe was charged with first-degree murder in the early November shooting of Camille Arfmann, 14.

“No. That’s not the kind of person Floyd is,” the 20-year-old woman told reporters in a Jefferson County Courthouse hallway. “There were no problems between Floyd and my sister.”

Arfmann, who lived with Floyd Scott and Heidi Bledsoe, never complained of any problems with her husband, Heidi Bledsoe said.

“No. Not to me.”

Within 45 minutes Monday afternoon, one Bledsoe brother was charged with first-degree murder in the young girl’s death and the same charges against another Bledsoe brother were dismissed.

Floyd Scott Bledsoe, 23, had been held since Saturday morning in the Jefferson County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with Arfmann’s death.

On Monday, first-degree murder charges were dismissed against Thomas E. Bledsoe, 25. Thomas Bledsoe had been charged Nov. 8. He was released on his own recognizance Friday night. According to the Jefferson County sheriff, his release was part of an agreement between prosecutors and Thomas Bledsoe’s defense attorney. No further explanation was given.

Now, Thomas Bledsoe is listed as a witness on the first-degree murder complaint against his brother. So is Heidi Bledsoe.

County Attorney Jim Vanderbilt was unavailable Monday to answer reporters’ questions about the case. He was only seen during the time it took to charge Floyd Scott Bledsoe.

Floyd Scott Bledsoe wore a bulletproof vest in the courtroom as the charges were explained to him by District Magistrate Judge Dennis Reiling.

Dressed in orange jail clothes, Bledsoe was handcuffed with the cuffs attached to a chain around his waist. His feet were chained.

He was not required to enter a plea during the first-appearance hearing.

Reiling appointed Atchison attorney John Kurth to represent Bledsoe.

During Monday’s hearing, Reiling ordered Bledsoe held without bond. In speaking against setting a bond, Vanderbilt stressed the nature of the crime and the need to protect the community.

“Based on the circumstances standing around Camille’s death, the method she was killed and the disposal of the body, the facts say this crime could be committed again,” Vanderbilt said. “We believe it is necessary to hold him without bond.”

Kurth told Reiling he could not speak on the question of bond for Bledsoe because he had just been appointed to the case.

Law enforcement officials have released few details about the crime. The report from an autopsy of Arfmann’s body is not complete, Sheriff Roy Dunnaway said. Toxicological reports also are pending.

And an affidavit in Thomas Bledsoe’s case file is sealed.

Sheriff’s officers and Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents have been working 12- to 18-hour days investigating the case, Dunnaway said. Arfmann was reported missing Nov. 6, and her body was found Nov. 8.

“It’ll be awhile before we’re done,” the sheriff said.

Dunnaway would not say whether there are other suspects in the case.

“The way you do this is you look at everybody,” he said.

The sheriff also declined to rule out Thomas Bledsoe as a suspect.

“He may be, he may not be.”

Speculation about the crime has been the main topic of discussion around the courthouse square, which is the hub of commerce in this city of 2,000 located 19 miles north of Lawrence along U.S. Highway 59.

Monday’s first-appearance hearing for Floyd Scott Bledsoe drew the largest contingent of reporters to town since Arfmann was reported missing Nov. 6.

Four TV crews, two newspaper reporters and two newspaper photographers were around the courthouse much of the afternoon.

As she walked out of Vanderbilt’s office Monday afternoon, Tommie Sue Arfmann, Camille’s mother, complained about news coverage of her daughter’s funeral Saturday. She said Dunnaway had told reporters to stay away.

Dunnaway said he knew of no request to keep media away from the funeral and issued no such instruction.

Camille Arfmann was found dead at 2:30 a.m. Nov. 8 after Thomas Bledsoe led sheriff’s officers to her body, which was buried in a ditch beneath trash and dirt in a field north of his home.

The young woman was last seen alive at 4:20 p.m. Nov. 5, entering the mobile home of Floyd Scott and Heidi Bledsoe. A school bus driver watched the Oskaloosa High School honor roll student walk from the bus to her residence.

Camille Arfmann was living with Floyd Scott and Heidi Bledsoe so she could ride the school bus to Oskaloosa High. Arfmann’s mother lives in Winchester, and Camille would stay with her on the weekends.

• Erwin Seba’s phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is eseba@ljworld.com.

Timeline: Floyd Bledsoe murder conviction overturned

● May 29, 2016 — Lawsuit filed by wrongfully convicted man details how law enforcement officials allegedly framed him

● May 21, 2016 — Floyd Bledsoe, wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years, pushes to end death penalty in Kansas

● May 10, 2016 — Floyd Bledsoe, wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years, says he was ‘framed,’ files lawsuit against Kansas justice officials

● Feb. 12, 2016 — Wrongfully convicted Floyd Bledsoe seeks videotaped interrogations in Kansas

● Feb. 8, 2016 — Kansas bill would allow $235K for wrongfully convicted man who spent 15 years in prison

● Jan. 18, 2016 — Jefferson County attorney doesn’t expect further action against former sheriff, others involved in wrongful murder conviction

● Jan. 17, 2016 — Bledsoe case spurs measure to allow compensation for wrongful convictions

● Jan. 10, 2016 — Requiring that police interrogations be recorded might have prevented tragedy of wrongful conviction

● Dec. 30, 2015 — ‘Who are you going to tell?’ — Floyd Bledsoe, wrongfully convicted of murder, discusses pain of prison, journey to forgiveness

● Dec. 27, 2015 — 1999 Oskaloosa murder case reopened; possibility that killer ‘had assistance’

● Dec. 13, 2015 — Web of lies, indifference to justice led to wrong Kansas brother being imprisoned for more than 15 years

● Dec. 13, 2015 — Kansas has no law on payouts for wrongly incarcerated prisoners

Dec. 8, 2015 — Judge throws out 2000 murder conviction, frees Oskaloosa man after 15 years in prison

● Nov. 13, 2015 — Original suspect in girl’s murder dies of apparent suicide as case about to be revisited

● Oct. 21, 2015 — KU Project for Innocence, Midwest Innocence Project seeks to free convicted murderer with DNA evidence

● July 8, 2012 — Objection to DNA testing not likely

● June 20, 2012 — Motion seeks DNA testing in 1999 murder of teen

● Sept. 30, 2009 — Further appeals limited in Bledsoe case

● July 5, 2009 — 1999 murder case won’t settle

● June 28, 2009 — Federal court reverses release in murder case

● Oct. 7, 2008 — Floyd Bledsoe, sentenced to life for murder of teen sister-in-law, set free; ineffective assistance of counsel cited

● Feb. 3, 2007 — Court upholds murder conviction

● Feb. 2, 2002 — Murder conviction is upheld

● Dec. 5, 2001 — Attorneys appeal conviction of teen-ager’s murderer

● Dec. 2, 2001 — Oskaloosa murder case to be heard

● July 15, 2000 — Victim’s family unsure justice was served

● July 15, 2000 — Bledsoe gets life

● July 14, 2000 — Bledsoe sentenced to life in prison

● June 23, 2000 — Bledsoe sentencing delayed

● May 31, 2000 — Lawyer: Mother’s story changes

● April 30, 2000 — Minister supports Bledsoe in spirit

● April 28, 2000 — Bledsoe found guilty

● April 28, 2000 — Bledsoe murder case goes to jury

● April 27, 2000 — Bledsoe charges amended

● April 27, 2000 — Bledsoe prosecution rests

● April 27, 2000 — Bledsoe murder trial wrapping up

● April 26, 2000 — Tom Bledsoe seeks to explain lies

● April 26, 2000 — Bledsoe told his mother he didn’t kill Arfmann

● April 25, 2000 — Pool of potential jurors knows all about case

● April 25 2000 — Trial starts in murder of girl, 14

● April 24, 2000 — Murder trial to begin today

● Dec. 10, 1999 — Family of victim tries to cope with pain, loss

● Dec. 10, 1999 — Murder suspect enters innocent plea

● Dec. 9, 1999 — Murder suspect to be arraigned

● Nov. 30, 1999 — Case pits brother vs. brother

● Nov. 18, 1999 — Friends relieved charges were dismissed against Oskaloosa man

● Nov. 16, 1999 — Wife proclaims husband’s innocence in girl’s death

● Nov. 14, 1999 — In-law jailed in slaying of teen-ager

● Nov. 14, 1999 — Family, friends mourn Camille

● Nov. 10, 1999 — Quiet hearing for defendant charged with girl’s slaying

● Nov. 10, 1999 — Bledsoe recieves murder charge

● Nov. 9, 1999 — Police hold relative of slain girl

● Nov. 9, 1999 — Girl’s death leaves family, children with questions


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