Archive for Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Floyd Bledsoe, sentenced to life for murder of teen sister-in-law, set free; ineffective assistance of counsel cited

A Kansas man serving life in prison for killing his sister-in-law nearly a decade ago - is now a free man.

October 7, 2008, 3:31 p.m. Updated October 8, 2008, 9:27 a.m.

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— A man who had been sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 slaying of his 14-year-old sister-in-law near Oskaloosa has been freed by a federal court order.

Floyd Scott Bledsoe, now 32, was denied his constitutional right of effective counsel, according to a ruling last month by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Rogers of Topeka.

Bledsoe was released under a supervised bond and is living in Hutchinson, according to Alice White, supervising attorney at the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project at Kansas University, which won his release.

"His goal is to start anew," White said.

Bledsoe still faces legal proceedings.

The Kansas attorney general's office has appealed Rogers' decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. An expedited hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 17.

Bledsoe was convicted in the shooting death of Zetta "Camille" Arfmann. He was also convicted of aggravated kidnapping and indecent liberties with a child in the case.

Bledsoe accused his brother Tom Bledsoe of the slaying. Tom initially claimed to have killed Arfmann, and he led authorities to where her body was. She had been shot with Tom's pistol.

But then Tom recanted, saying Floyd had told him to confess or he would expose some things Tom had done in the past.

Floyd Bledsoe denied killing the girl. In his appeals, he alleged his trial lawyer, John Kurth, was ineffective and committed mistakes that led to his conviction.

Contacted by the Lawrence Journal-World, Kurth, of Atchison, defended his work during the trial. "I don't think the state proved its case, but I didn't think (the guilty verdict) was my doing," Kurth said. "We got a bad verdict."

In a ruling last year, the Kansas Supreme Court agreed that Bledsoe's attorney committed mistakes but the court said it wasn't convinced that those mistakes affected the trial's outcome.

The Supreme Court had said, "Two brothers accused each other of vile crimes. There was ample evidence to support each accusation. Although in the hands of another defense lawyer, the case may have been tried to another conclusion, 'may' is not good enough."

But Rogers disagreed. "It is unclear why 'may' is not good enough," he wrote.

He said there was no physical evidence connecting Floyd Bledsoe to the crime. He said the prosecutor misstated evidence in the case, and Bledsoe's defense attorney failed to challenge those inaccuracies.

Comments

XEPCT 8 years, 11 months ago

Where is Tom Bledsoe? And what things from his past would he not want to reveal, going so far as to admit to murder? I agree with srj.

Bubarubu 8 years, 11 months ago

"the fact is he was convicted "If the point is that the conviction was invalid, then continuing his incarceration can't be justified. His conviction was fact, now the overturned conviction is fact. By law, he was guilty. By law, he is not guilty.

RaynRavyn 8 years, 11 months ago

Wow... just wow. Having been there for this (not the killing, obviously, but the aftermath) I can't believe this... But, at the same time, when it happened it seemed to be the general consensus that one or both had killed her, and then both were in on covering it up. There should've been very strong dna evidence, but it had been removed. All in all the most disturbing scene most any of us had/have ever encountered.

purplesage 8 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if the release of one Bledsoe has anything to do with the number of county sheriff's vehicles congregating about a half of a mile from where the other one lives?.

james bush 8 years, 11 months ago

Judge Richard Rogers.........isn't there a "judicial watch" group who may have a record on this man? Will we have a chance to vote on his retention? I hope so because this is nuts: "may" isn't good enough for him and he's smarter than everybody? I don't think so!

greenworld 8 years, 11 months ago

I got one thing to say about all this....Good Ole Jefferson County. LOLOne of the few places that only patrols 2 sheriffs a night and expects everybody to go to bed and feel safe at night. Also one of the few places where you could almost get away with murder. Well I guess you can.

compmd 8 years, 11 months ago

Glad to see that some courtrooms in this state work.

greenworld 8 years, 11 months ago

This happened back in 1999 and it's taken them this long to find out something went wrong. God, can you say slow. So is it innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent?

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 11 months ago

Jafs, the easy answer is that generally when a conviction is overturned on appeal, the state can retry the defendant. There are a few exceptions, but they're rare and not applicable in this case.

geniusmannumber1 8 years, 11 months ago

If we already know they're guilty before the trial, why should we even let them have a lawyer, or make the prosecutor tell the truth. What about the victim? It just isn't fair.

bytheway 8 years, 11 months ago

Whoa, I can't believe what I just read. My hubby went to high school with this guy. He said there was something a little "off" about him back then. I met him one time back in 1999. I totally agree with my hubby about him being a little on the "off" side. I feel bad for the family whose daughter was killed and this weirdo is let back onto the streets.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

well if he is innocent the fact is he was convicted he should at least stay behind bars until a retrial. This is just my opinion and people might not agree.

bizarre 8 years, 11 months ago

Justice is slow.......Lets just hope he doesnt go to Vegas and try to rob someone, he would get a life sentance for that!

Deja Coffin 8 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe this. Whether it was Floyd or Tom, there's a child molester loose and knowing that this happened close to Oskaloosa does not make me feel the least bit safe. This is just f'ing great.

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 11 months ago

momma, yes his conviction was overturned. Once the conviction is overturned, a defendant is once again entitled to bond while awaiting retrial.

Steve Jacob 8 years, 11 months ago

Where is Mr. Tom Bledsoe right now, I have to ask. Also, Mr. John Kurth should not be practicing law right now, and if he was public defense, how approved this? Guilty or not, you deserve a fair trial.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

does not say the conviction was overturned so should he not stay in prison until his retrial?

jafs 8 years, 11 months ago

If you're tried and acquitted, you can't be tried again.If you're tried and convicted, and then the conviction is overturned, doesn't the same apply?Can he be retried?

cthulhu_4_president 8 years, 11 months ago

See? The system does work! Just not if you're the victim.

FormerCentralKansan 8 years, 11 months ago

I somehow remember a dog was involved in the crazy saga. Wasn't there some big article in The Pitch years ago about these people?

acg 8 years, 11 months ago

I went to HS with these creepy freaks. Tom has severe problems from birth. Defects of a physical and mental nature. Floyd didn't seem as defective as his brother but he was way creepier. These two losers are straight outta the Hills Have Eyes. I also always thought they were in on it together. I think they molested and/or raped that little girl and then killed her to cover it up and once the cops got too close they started pointing fingers at one another. This makes me so mad that this was overturned, but I hope they nail his a** on retrial. I hope they also get Tom this time for whatever role he may have played. Neither one of them deserve a place on this planet!!

infinity13 8 years, 11 months ago

From the Kansas Supreme Court opinion:"Tom also said that Floyd had told him not to tell anyone, that Tom should take the blame, and that if he did not, Floyd would tell people about Tom's past. At trial, Tom acknowledged that Floyd had threatened him in this way in the past to get what he wanted. Tom thought Floyd would reveal to members of his church that he had tried to have sex with a dog, had been caught with dirty magazines, and had played with himself while watching dirty movies."

infinity13 8 years, 11 months ago

Tom Bledsoe was a church goer who was secretly addicted to porn, beastiality, and wanted this 14 year old to be his first (he was about 26 at the time). He claims his brother said he would reveal this unless he took the fall for him. So, Tom confessed to keep all this secret. Why anyone would rather be known as a murderer than a porn fiend is beyond me. Funny Tom that all of this has been revealed anyway.

angel4dennis 8 years, 11 months ago

Are you kidding me? Why do they allow the guilty to get away with murder? I feel for the girl's family and friends who now have to suffer knowing that the murderer is allowed to be out of prison. Now only that, there is also the indecent liberties charge, now we have to watch out for another murderer and a child molestor. Kudos to the Kansas Supreme Court. I pray someone will take this to a Federal level and get this convict back to where he belongs-prison.

Fatty_McButterpants 8 years, 11 months ago

Angel4dennis: Somebody did take this to the federal level: the KU defender project. Since the KS Supreme Court had ruled on the actual criminal aspect, the only way they were going to get any further was if they could make it a constitutional issue, which they did. The U.S. District Court judge is the one that let him free. That is also why the case will now be appealed to the 10th Circuit court.

theunkown 8 years, 11 months ago

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infinity13 8 years, 11 months ago

Tom confesses to a murder, leads police to the body, and the girl was shot with his gun. Then he recants, claims Floyd did it and, Floyd is convicted. Doesn't anyone see anything wrong with this? There is a reason for the old adage that it is a far greater injustice for an innocent man to be wrongly convicted than for a guilty man to go free. You need to realize that people are wrongly convicted far more than most believe. This man deserves a fair trial and should not be in prison if he is indeed innocent. There is a murdered girl out there and her killer should be in jail, but someone who did not kill her should be free.

july241983 8 years, 11 months ago

You know Jim, "may" isn't good enough for me either. Maybe he did it, maybe his brother (who confessed) did it. We should just keep him behind bars for the rest of his life just to be sure. That's not how it is supposed to work (ever heard of beyond a reasonable doubt?). And no, you can't vote for his retention. He's a federal judge.

theunkown 8 years, 11 months ago

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Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

If they have released Floyd then are they going to arrest Tom? Or will they just let this case be unsolved?

Deja Coffin 8 years, 11 months ago

Well I thankfully don't know either of them. I know a lot of people who do know both and have even worked with them and not one person has said anything good about either of them. I seriously think they both had something to do with this and I hope that both are punished for it.

conservativepunker 8 years, 11 months ago

I was called to be a witness for the State in this case. It was absolutely horrible. I think there's a very good possibility they both were in on it.

pip2006 8 years, 11 months ago

What did happen to Tom? How is the structure of their family now? One would think that this would definately split the family apart. Wonder if there is any communication now between brothers. Anyone know? theunkown--since you claim to know him maybe you can answer these questions.

oskiegirl 8 years, 11 months ago

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oskiegirl 8 years, 11 months ago

i moved to oskie about 6 years ago and have always heard the story well just tonight i found out that TOM is a sacker at the local grocery store. me and my kids have talk to him at the store and he has carried my groceries to my car, to know that he 'could' be involved really makes me sick to my stomache. my boyfriend went to school with them and said that they are both freaks and he thinks that both of them are guilty. It freaks me out that there is not any closure to who REALLY did this, one has always been free and now the other. It is all to sickening that there is not any justice for this little girl and protection for other little girls. and for the commit about the jefferson county sherrif WHERE ARE THEY!!!! there is nothing wrong with being a porn freak!!!! doin a dog is wrong, but why would you cop to rape and murder just to hide that if you are not guilty

bobbyb 8 years, 11 months ago

Ok, if I was Floyd and in jail for a murder I did not do. I would be screaming giving names, talking to the news, radio. But he's not. Why not check out Floyd's creepy father? If Floyd's family often bought her gifts and welcomed her at family meals why did they not help look for her? even the people at church haven't felt at ease around Tom. There's got to be more than one Involved in this whole thing.

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

So..what are you guys saying? Floyd done it? They dont have anything on Floyd to put him in. Tom(floyd's brother) set there and told the police that he(tom) did it. He led the police to the 14-year old girl. I dont see how they have anything on Floyd. Now Tom i can see they have something on him because he set there and told the police he did it and then he turned it around and said he had to say that because Floyd told him to say that and if he didnt he would tell what kinda bad things he did(like rape animals). Tom is a very sick person. Sorry to say that but he is.

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Deja Coffin 8 years, 11 months ago

I'm just glad to know what grocery store I won't be going to anytime soon. I definately think Tom may have had something to do with the murder. If he didn't do it on his own, then I think he definately helped in some part. I hope both brothers continue to blame eachother and give the cops evidence against eachother. Hopefully they'll say something they'll be able to be proven or hold up in court. I just hope the guilty person pays for their crime.

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

I dont see how Floyd did it. When the 14-year old girl came up missing, Floyd was looking for her, he stood down there by his house and stopped cars to see if they have seen her, he had a picture of her. Now why would he kill a young girl? He done everything he could do, he looked for her morning and night. If he killed that young girl then he wouldnt be wasting his time looking for her back in 1999.

StayHomeMom 8 years, 11 months ago

oskiegirl....I'm not sure what local store you are talking about but he does not work at the store in Oskaloosa.

tammi bolinger foster 8 years, 11 months ago

I've never seen Tom at the grocery store in McLouth, although I believe he lives near here. I want to find out where he works so I also know where not to shop!

Deja Coffin 8 years, 11 months ago

My honest opinion from what I've read and heard is that they both were involved somehow. If they both didn't kill her then they both hide the body. There have been false confession in the past but usually those people claim to have been pressured by the cops. He's saying he confessed to rape and murder because he didn't want people to know he looked at dirty videos and "tried" to have sex with an animal. How is that worse then the crime?

lifeisnopicnic 8 years, 11 months ago

"I definately think Tom may have had something to do with the murder. If he didn't do it on his own, then I think he definately helped in some part. I hope both brothers continue to blame eachother and give the cops evidence against eachother. Hopefully they'll say something they'll be able to be proven or hold up in court. I just hope the guilty person pays for their crime."I could not agree more. And, I hope and pray that Tom's wife will do the right thing and protect her children...

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

I got a real fast question for everybody on here. Do you think "Tom or "Floyd" done it? I believe "Tom" did it. I mean why would "Tom" set there and say he did it? So he most of done it.

Deja Coffin 8 years, 11 months ago

I think as citizens we need to keep eachother informed and safe. I feel like this person is a threat and I would like to know if he works in any local stores only to avoid him. I have little girls to protect. We'll let the courts do their business but if I can keep my babies safe from one more predator, alleged or not, that'll be what I do.

lifeisnopicnic 8 years, 11 months ago

Oskiegirl - I am pretty sure that Tom has changed his place of employment over the past few years...he does NOT work at the store in Oskie and I am pretty sure not in McLouth, either. Sometimes, especially in your lovely little town and in McLouth, you get a LOT of hear say - regardless of whether the truth is embedded in your trusted source's wording or not, if you didn't see it with your own eyes - don't bother repeating it, as it is usually bs. He does live in rural McLouth, but I do not know where he works. I have seen him on several occasions - and have made my feelings clear to those around me. I am very curious to see what unfolds over the next few weeks. The new hearing is set for the 17th of November - what are they going to be deciding then?

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

We seen Tom(floyd's brother) riding a 4 wheeler in McLouth getting ready to go in the liqior store in McLouth.

oskiegirl 8 years, 11 months ago

all i know is what i have been told and who to watch out for and that is what i was told by someone that knows him i was told that a few years before floyd's release like i said i have only been here for 6 years so i am going by what a trusted individual told me i am sure someone on this blog knows where he is because alot of information is being said i just want to protect other little girls sorry if i did give out wrong info but i do not beleive that i did beings i know tons of people that went to school with him and that is what they say so take the info if you like

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

I dont know if you guys know or not, but what did they have on Floyd to put him in prision anyways? They have never said in the paper or anything. I think its sure funny they never said.

theunkown 8 years, 11 months ago

so why do you guys delete the comments that i put, is it because i am making clear points, well just to let you know tom's wife loves him alot and her kids, he has not done anything to hurt her or her kids, they are his kids also, they love him very much and he loves them also, i don't see how you people could think that he could do something like that, if tom would of killed her don't you think there would of been other stuff that he has done also, it has been 8 years and nothing else have happened, but just to let you guys know tom has not done anything, he may have confessed to it, but alot of people that don't do things confess to them to protect the ones they love, well i just ho[pe that they put floyd back in jail so that people can feel safe, and no he doesn't talk to his brother the only one in his family that he talks to is his parents, and the only ones that they talk to is tom, his family is just fine without the rest of his brothers and sisters

Calliope877 8 years, 11 months ago

I went to school with these guys. I think Floyd was held back a couple of years so he was a year behind me, while Tom was a Junior when I was a freshman. I don't recall ever talking to them, but I remember both were considered creepy for various reasons. I remember Floyd got picked on a lot and he always laughed along with his tormenters. I used to feel sorry for them given their circumstances at the time, and the strange family they're a part of -- now the sight of them sickens me. I personally think they're both somehow responsible for that little girl's death, but I guess that remains to be seen.

bobbyb 8 years, 11 months ago

Who out there would confess to a murder you did not do or was not apart of? If not the murderer tells you if you don't I will tell people you had sex with a dog. Hummmm go to prison for the rest of my life or tell people I like the family dog.

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

Does anybody know where "Tom" is at or where he is working at?

Deja Coffin 8 years, 11 months ago

theunkown, even serial killers have periods of time where there's no activity. So because he hasn't had the urge to kill a girl in the last 8 years hardly makes him innocent. Believe what you want to believe and I'll do the same. But as far as I'm concerned I'd rather keep both those men as far away from my family as possible.

RaynRavyn 8 years, 11 months ago

nopicnic- It is disgusting. I am related to her children, and we (their family) were sickened, angry, and terrified when she chose to bring him into her home with them. They were very close to Camille's age, and it wasn't long after that happened that they were together. We are just thankful that (as far as anyone knows) nothing happened to them.

lifeisnopicnic 8 years, 11 months ago

It sickens me to think that Tom's wife would allow her children to be around him, and to call them "his" children - I have NO DOUBT that she can hold her own with him if needed, but the girls.... I hate to even think of the possibilities.It is disgusting, and even more so that her children were so close to Camille's age when they got together. Dejacrew423- I do not hold you at fault at all for wanting to know where to avoid...I would be the same way - however, I do know where he lives, and I know who and where to avoid. It is our duty to protect each other and our children - ALL of them.

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

It's just a messed up deal. Jefferson county needs to pull their head out, why would they let "Tom" go when he took the police to her body and had the gun in his room and that same night he bought bollits for the same gun? I still from this day see how they can let "Tom" go. Also i dont understand what they have on Floyd to put him in prision for the past 10 years. I think someobody didnt do their job and thats how Floyd got put in.

Deja Coffin 8 years, 11 months ago

BTW, glad to see other Jefferson County people on here!

Deja Coffin 8 years, 11 months ago

If they had what they believe to be enough evidence to put Floyd in jail and if what Unknown500 says is true then I think it just helps fuel my opinion that both had a part in this tragic murder. And nopicnic, if you want to private message me any information you have to help me keep my babies safe, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm not wanting to do anything but protect my babies. I am in Mclouth and Oskaloosa often enough that him working in local stores or businesses could effect my family. If you thought an alleged child molester, rapist, murderer, etc. worked somewhere you shopped, you'd want to know, right?

Unknown500 8 years, 11 months ago

lifeisnotapinic- may i ask why you think Floyd was in on it?

lifeisnopicnic 8 years, 11 months ago

Message sent, Dejacrew423.I will always believe that they were both involved. I think they were in on it together from the start and they are both equally deserving of the same treatment Camille got in her final hours. Eye for an eye....right?

oskiegirl 8 years, 11 months ago

nopicnic i live in oskie and i would like to know too all i want to do it protect my 12 year old daughter that has to walk home from school and sometimes has to go to the store for me because i am disabled. if anyone know where any creepky creeps are to stay away from please private message me thank you

Unknown500 8 years, 10 months ago

Does anybody know what happened about Floyds trilal? Please let me know, thanks alot.

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