Bledsoe gets life

Oskaloosan claims innocence at sentencing

photo by: Earl Richardson/Journal-World Photo

At his sentencing for the November 1999 murder of his sister-in-law, Camille Arfmann, Floyd S. Bledsoe, 23, gestures toward his wife, sister of his victim. Bledsoe was sentenced Friday in the Jefferson County Courthouse in Oskaloosa to life in prison for the crime.

OSKALOOSA — Floyd S. Bledsoe finally spoke Friday.

In the minutes before he was given a life sentence for murdering his 14-year-old sister-in-law, Bledsoe silent through months of hearings and an April trial asserted his innocence in a rambling speech.

“First of all, I’d like to say I didn’t do it,” he said.

Bledsoe paused to choke back tears several times as he reviewed his case. He rapped the defense table with his knuckles to emphasize key points.

The evidence against him, he said, “isn’t beyond a reasonable doubt, it isn’t beyond a real doubt. It’s all doubt.”

Bledsoe, 23, was convicted in April of murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated indecent liberties with a child in the November death of Camille Arfmann, the younger sister of his wife, Heidi Bledsoe.

His older brother Tom, 26, testified at trial that Floyd Bledsoe had confessed to killing the girl.

Untrue, Floyd Bledsoe said.

“Tom Bledsoe, my brother, why he’s done this I don’t know,” Floyd Bledsoe said.

He said investigators with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department railroaded his conviction.

“They won’t listen to the facts,” he said. “The facts show I didn’t do this crime.

“The sheriff’s office, they’re so crooked that if they were a road, nobody’d be able to drive down it.”

photo by: Earl Richardson/J-W Photo

Rose Anna Erhart, left, and Bledsoe’s estranged wife, Heidi Bledsoe, ponder the sentence.

photo by: Earl Richardson/J-W Photo

Wearing a button bearing the image of her slain daughter, Tommie Sue Arfmann meets with the media at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Oskaloosa. Floyd S. Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison for the November 1999 murder of his 14-year-old sister-in-law, Camille Arfmann.

District Judge Gary Nafziger listened to Bledsoe, then made his ruling: a life sentence for the murder, almost 13 years in prison for the kidnapping and more than three years for the sex charge.

The three sentences will run consecutively, Nafziger ordered. It will be at least 25 years before Bledsoe is eligible for parole.

That wasn’t good enough for Arfmann’s mother, Tommie Sue.

“Personally,” she said, “I think he should’ve been fried.”

The sentencing came after defense attorney John Kurth made a last-ditch attempt for a new trial in the case.

Bledsoe’s father, Floyd L. Bledsoe, testified that he heard three shots on his property after Arfmann’s body had been removed but before three shells were recovered and used as evidence.

A sheriff’s detective wouldn’t listen to that information, the elder Bledsoe said.

Kurth said that information wasn’t made available to him, which justified a new trial.

Additionally, he said, the evidence at trial didn’t justify the verdict.

“If the jury doesn’t do right, then it’s up to the court to do right,” Kurth said.

Jefferson County Atty. Jim Vanderbilt argued that the jury’s decision was correct and that Bledsoe should receive a life sentence.

“A man who will commit these offenses … should not be exposed to the public again,” he said.

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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