KBI agents helped wrongfully convict him, claims Floyd Bledsoe. He’s asking for $24 million

Floyd Bledsoe, wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and murder in Jefferson County in 1999, is seeking between $24 million and $48 million in compensatory damages from the remaining four defendants in a lawsuit he is pursuing.

He is asking that three defendants — an attorney and two former Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents — also be ordered to pay punitive damages of $100,000 each for allegedly displaying malice and/or reckless indifference to the regard to his constitutional rights.

Those numbers were shared in a federal court pretrial order issued Thursday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Angel D. Mitchell, who is presiding over a civil lawsuit that Bledsoe is pursuing.

Floyd Bledsoe, right, is greeted by Oliver Burnette, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, in 2015 after being cleared of the 1999 murder of his sister-in-law, 14-year-old Camille Arfmann.

Floyd Bledsoe, right, is greeted by Oliver Burnette, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, in 2015 after being cleared of the 1999 murder of his sister-in-law, 14-year-old Camille Arfmann.

Who is Floyd Bledsoe suing and why?

Bledsoe, 46, was wrongfully jailed for 16 years for the 1999 murder and sexual assault of his sister-in-law Camille Arfmann, 14, who was fatally shot north of Oskaloosa.

He was released from prison in 2015 after DNA evidence proved he could not have committed these crimes and his older brother, Tom Bledsoe, wrote notes confessing to them before dying of suicide by asphyxiation.

Bledsoe is pursuing legal action against Jim Woods, Terry Morgan, Michael Hayes and the estate of George Johnson, who died in 2020.

Woods, Morgan and Johnson were KBI agents, who helped investigate Camille’s death. Hayes was Tom Bledsoe’s criminal defense attorney.

Why is Bledsoe asking for between $24 and $48 million?

Bledsoe’s trial says authorities fabricated evidence against him and suppressed evidence in his favor to wrongly convict him of the murder of Camille Arfmann.

During his years in prison, Floyd Bledsoe was kept in “difficult, dangerous and isolating conditions”, according to his legal petition.

“The plaintiff was convicted of a horrific crime – sexually abusing and killing a young girl – and had to endure the humiliation and injustice of being wrongly labeled a ‘sex offender’ and murderer,” said he declared. “Because Floyd had been sentenced to life in prison, he feared dying alone inside prison walls.”

What’s Happened So Far With Floyd Bledsoe’s Costume?

Bledsoe filed the lawsuit in May 2016, alleging his constitutional rights were violated by Jefferson County and 11 named defendants.

The Jefferson County Commission last April agreed to pay Bledsoe a $7.5 million settlement in exchange for him dropping his lawsuit against that county and all of the defendants who were Jefferson County employees.

The only defendants who were not removed from the suit were Hayes, Woods, Morgan and Johnson’s estate.

The State of Kansas in 2019 acknowledged that Bledsoe was wrongfully convicted and awarded him full compensation of $1,038,526.95.

When will Floyd Bledsoe’s civil case go to trial?

Mitchell’s order Thursday maintains in place arrangements previously made for the trial in Bledsoe’s lawsuit to begin at 9 a.m. on April 2, 2024 in Kansas City, Kan. The trial is expected to last seven to 10 days, he said.

In the meantime, according to the order, “the parties currently believe that the prospects for the resolution of this matter are uncertain.”

A private mediation session between the two parties has been set for June 28, 2023, the order said. It did not shed light on what may have resulted.

How did Floyd Bledsoe meet Camille?

Camille was living at the time of her death with Floyd Bledsoe; his sister, Heidi Bledsoe, who was then married to Floyd Bledsoe; and the two young sons of Floyd and Heidi Bledsoe. Heidi Bledsoe later divorced Floyd Bledsoe.

Floyd Bledsoe was employed at a McLouth dairy at the time of Camille’s death. Tom Bledsoe, then 25, was a security guard at Lawrence’s Farmland Industries.

How many times was Camille Arfmann shot?

Camille, a student at Oskaloosa High School, died after being shot four times, including one in the back of the head. Shortly after, Tom Bledsoe confessed to the crime.

But Jefferson County officials responded by staging a “fake recantation,” Floyd Bledsoe’s lawsuit said.

“In the weeks that followed, the defendants continued to fabricate and shape Tom’s story to fit the facts emerging from the criminal investigation and silenced Tom when he repeatedly attempted to reveal,” he said.

Floyd Bledsoe’s 2-year-old son said he saw a man kill Camille. WHO?

Floyd Bledsoe, then 23, was convicted in May 1999 following a trial which, according to court records, “included recitations of statements made by Floyd’s 2-year-old son, Cody, which alternately involved Tom and Floyd”.

Although the boy did not testify at trial, his mother testified that he first told her he saw ‘Tom’ kill Camille, then changed that to say he saw ‘dad’ commit this crime.

How was Floyd Bledsoe exonerated?

Bledsoe was found guilty in Jefferson County District Court of first degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated indecent liberty with a child.

The Project for Innocence commissioned new DNA tests carried out in 2015 which showed Tom Bledsoe likely killed Camille and that Floyd Bledsoe could not have been the killer.

As Jefferson County Sheriff’s officials reopened the case, Tom died of asphyxiation in November 2015 in Bonner Springs and left three suicide notes confessing to the murder.

Contact Tim Hrenchir at threnchir@gannett.com or 785-213-5934.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Floyd Bledsoe sues for $24 million in wrongful conviction

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