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Motion seeks DNA testing in 1999 Oskaloosa murder

Published on -6/20/2012, 1:37 PM

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Attorneys supporting a man who has proclaimed his innocence in the 1999 murder of an Oskaloosa teenager are asking for a new DNA test, the latest legal maneuver in more than a decade since 14-year-old Zetta Arfmann was kidnapped, assaulted and shot to death.

The Project for Innocence filed a motion this week in Jefferson County seeking the DNA test for Floyd Bledsoe, 35, who is serving a life sentence for Arfmann's death.

Bledsoe has always maintained his innocence and attorneys have filed several failed motions on his behalf since the murder, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/KT4JL2).

"We never dropped the case," said Alice White, an attorney with the Kansas University Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies.

If the new request is approved, several pieces of evidence could be tested, such as Arfmann's clothing from the scene, said Elizabeth Cateforis, one of Bledsoe's attorneys with the Project for Innocence.

"There's a lot of stuff we're hoping to try," she said.

Arfmann was last seen as she stepped off her school bus at the Oskaloosa mobile home she shared with Floyd Bledsoe, her sister, Heidi, and their two children. Her body was discovered three days later in a trash ditch near the home of the Bledsoes' parents.

Bledsoe's brother, Tom Bledsoe, was originally charged with killing Arfmann. He led investigators to the body, confessed to the crime and gave police his gun, which was used in the murder. After several days in jail, he recanted and implicated his brother.

No DNA evidence was presented at trial and subsequent testing requested by Bledsoe's attorneys on appeal did not yield useful results. New technology could potentially produce a DNA profile, Cateforis said.

In 2008, a U.S. District Court ruled that Bledsoe should be freed from prison because he had ineffective counsel at trial. But the Kansas Attorney General's Office appealed and the higher court reversed the decision and returned Bledsoe to prison.

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