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Archive for Friday, June 29, 2001

State to answer Bledsoe’s petition

June 29, 2001

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The Jefferson County attorney says he's nearly ready to answer a petition by Floyd Bledsoe Jr., who is challenging his conviction for the 1999 murder of a teen-age girl in Jefferson County.

Bledsoe, serving a life sentence in prison, maintains he was convicted for the murder of 14-year-old Camille Arfmann in April 2000 on hearsay and inconsistent, circumstantial evidence.

Bledsoe's attorneys filed his appeal earlier this year with the Kansas Supreme Court.

Jefferson County Atty. Jim Vanderbilt, who prosecuted Bledsoe, disagrees, and said Thursday that he soon will file his responses with the court.

Bledsoe's attorneys say there was no evidence to prove first-degree murder other than Floyd Bledsoe's "uncorroborated, alleged admission" to his brother, Tom Bledsoe.

Floyd Bledsoe's attorneys for the appeal are Mary Curtis and Jessica R. Kunen of the Appellate Defender Office, Topeka.

Jefferson County authorities first charged Tom Bledsoe with the crime but later released him and tried his brother instead.

Floyd Bledsoe, 23 at the time of his sentencing, was convicted of murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

During the trial, Tom Bledsoe testified his brother confessed to him that he had killed Arfmann. At the time, Arfmann lived with Floyd Bledsoe and his wife, Heidi, in rural Jefferson County. Arfmann was Heidi Bledsoe's sister. Floyd and Heidi Bledsoe have since divorced.

Arfmann's body was found Nov. 7, 1999, buried beneath plywood and trash on land owned by Floyd Bledsoe's father.

Tom Bledsoe initially confessed to the murder himself but later recanted, saying his brother blackmailed him into giving the confession.

Floyd Bledsoe's attorneys also argue that testimony at trial repeating alleged statements made by his then 2-year-old son shouldn't have been allowed by District Court Judge Gary L. Nafziger. The 2-year-old didn't testify in court. But he allegedly made statements implicating either Tom or Floyd in the crime.

In addition, the appeal says the court shouldn't have allowed testimony concerning a conversation between the two brothers staged by police.

No dates have been set for a hearing before the Supreme Court on the case, a court spokesman said.

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