Floyd Bledsoe, 43, was finally freed in 2015 after sibling Tom confessed to the brutal killing of 14-year-old Camille Arfmann, who was shot four times in November 1999, in a suicide note.
He was 23 when he was convicted of first-degree murder in 2000, despite his brother having turned himself in and led detectives to the teenager’s body under a pile of trash in Oskaloosa, Kansas.
But in a cruel twist, he later recanted and testified against his brother, telling jurors he had tried to blackmail him into taking the fall.
Floyd, who was strapped into a bullet-proof vest before being driven to court during his trial, was sentenced to life in prison.
According to a lawsuit he filed in 2016, Jefferson County authorities persuaded Tom Bledsoe to recant his confession and ‘framed’ him by hiding evidence of his innocence.
In 2015, DNA testing revealed Tom was the likely source of sperm found in the victim. He died by suicide that year after writing a note again confessing to killing Camille.
In one of three notes he left behind, he admitted ‘I had sex with her, and killed her’, Jefferson County sheriff’s Captain of Detectives Kirk Vernon testified that year.
He wrote in a second that ‘Floyd is innocent’ and gave details of the killing that investigators said only the killer could have known in a third.
The charges against Floyd were dismissed and he was freed from prison that year.
It means Camille’s death is officially unsolved he could be tried again, but lawyers said it was highly unlikely given his brother’s confessions.
One of Bledsoe’s attorneys, Russell Ainsworth of Loevy & Loevy in Chicago, said Jefferson County was facing up to $40 million in liability if the case went to trial.
Jefferson County Commissioner Richard Malm said the county’s annual budget is about $20 million and the commission would have had to propose a bond if Bledsoe had not agreed to have the payment spread over 10 years.
In 2019, the state agreed to pay Bledsoe $1.03 million under a mistaken conviction law.