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Archive for Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Further appeals limited in Bledsoe case

Convicted murderer has maintained innocence

September 30, 2009

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Convicted murderer Floyd Bledsoe’s appeals have traveled through the Kansas and federal courts for the past 10 years.

But it appears his fight may be over.

The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently denied Bledsoe’s request to review his case.

“It was pretty devastating,” said Alice White, Bledsoe’s attorney from the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project at the Kansas University School of Law.

A Jefferson County court convicted Bledsoe in 1999 in the killing, kidnapping and sexual assault of his sister-in-law, 14-year-old Zetta Arfmann. Bledsoe has maintained his innocence of the crimes.

A year ago, a U.S. District Court ruled that Bledsoe should be freed from prison because he was denied his constitutional right of effective counsel.

But following an appeal by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, the higher court reversed the decision, returning Bledsoe to prison.

Bledsoe’s brother, Tom Bledsoe, was originally arrested and charged with killing Arfmann, who was shot three times in the chest and once in the back of the head. Tom led investigators to the body, confessed to the crime and provided police with his gun that was used in the murder. However, after several days in jail, Tom recanted and implicated his brother, Floyd.

While the recent denial severely limits Bledsoe’s options, White said they will continue working on the case. One option is to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but White said it’s unlikely Bledsoe’s case would be heard. The Defender Project will reinvestigate the case, she said, in hopes that some new piece of evidence might help grant Bledsoe a new trial.

“We’re not giving up,” she said.

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