Federal court reverses release in murder case

Convict’s bond revoked

Convicted murderer Floyd Bledsoe’s release from prison will be short-lived, as the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last week reversed a September decision by a lower federal court granting his release from prison based on ineffective assistance of counsel.

Bledsoe, 32, was convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated indecent liberties with a child in Jefferson County for the 1999 killing of his 14-year-old sister-in-law, Zetta “Camille” Arfmann. Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison for the murder that occurred near Oskaloosa.

Attorney Alice White from the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project at Kansas University, who represented Bledsoe in his appeals, said Bledsoe had been living under a supervised bond after Federal Judge Richard Rogers of Topeka granted his release last year. White said Bledsoe’s bond had been revoked Friday and when she spoke with him by phone, he was on his way to turn himself into authorities.

White said she was disappointed in the decision and that she continues to believe in Bledsoe’s innocence.

“We’re pretty devastated,” she said.

White said that the Defender Project will continue to assist Bledsoe, though the options, which include asking the 10th Circuit to review the case, are limited following the decision.

Bledsoe’s case was appealed to the federal courts after his convictions were upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2002.

The reversal came after the Kansas Attorney General’s Office appealed the September ruling that freed Bledsoe, which cited ineffective assistance of counsel.

Arfmann’s body was found Nov. 7, 1999, on land owned by Bledsoe’s family after she went missing three days before.

Bledsoe’s brother, Tom Bledsoe, originally confessed to the crimes and was initially charged in Arfmann’s murder. The gun used to kill Arfmann was owned by Tom, and he led police to her body.

However, Tom later recanted his statements and implicated Floyd as the murderer. Tom was released from jail and Floyd was arrested and charged with the murder.

Floyd Bledsoe has continually maintained his innocence of the crimes, White said.