Judge overturns Bledsoe's murder conviction, released after 16 years behind bars

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/AP)-- BREAKING UPDATE:
A Kansas man who had served more than 15 years of a life sentence for the 1999 shooting death of his sister-in-law is a free man, after a county judge overturned his conviction.

Floyd Bledsoe was ordered released Tuesday after attorneys presented new evidence that implicated his late brother in the death of 14-year-old Camille Arfmann.

A Jefferson County Sheriff's investigator testified that Bledsoe's brother, Thomas, committed suicide last month after DNA evidence implicated him in Arfmann's death. Thomas Bledsoe left behind suicide letters admitting his responsibility in the killing.

Tom Bledsoe had initially confessed to the killing before blaming his brother. Floyd Bledsoe had always maintained his innocence.

Prosecutor Jason Belveal has the option of pursuing the case but said it is unlikely that will happen.

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An Oskaloosa man convicted of first degree murder may walk out of jail a free man after 16 years behind bars.

Thirty-nine year old Floyd Bledsoe may walk out of the Oskaloosa courtroom Tuesday afternoon. 13's Ariana Cohen will be inside the Jefferson County Courthouse at 1p.m. and you can follow her live tweets @wibwAriana.

In 2000, Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 slaying of Camille Arfmann.

He was convicted of first degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated indecent liberties.

The Project for Innocence and Post Conviction Remedies at the University of Kansas are representing Bledsoe. They believe Tom Bledsoe is guilty instead of Floyd Bledsoe. Tom Bledsoe was found dead in an apparent suicide less than three weeks after DNA results tying him to Arfmann's death were made public.

The Project for Innocence court documents say a vaginal swab from Arfmann's body includes semen from a man, saying it most likely belongs to Tom Bledsoe and there is a 1 in 300 chance it belongs to someone else.

Tom Bledsoe told police in November 1999 that he killed Arfmann. He also left voice recordings saying "I wish I never did it. I hurt the church, I hurt God, most of all, I let everyone down. All I can say is I'm sorry. I will pay for the rest of my life for what I've done."

Court documents say he left another voice message for his parents. He said "Please help my mom and dad through this. They are disappointed in me. All I can ask is for forgiveness for what I've done. The other night I wanted to say it in front of the church but I didn't have enough guts."

Tom Bledsoe was arrested but he changed his story days later, telling officers that Floyd stole the gun, killed Arfmann and threatened to reveal embarrassing details about Tom's past if he didn't take the blame for the murder.

Jefferson County District Court Judge Gary Nafziger could release Floyd Bledsoe from prison Tuesday afternoon at 1p.m. or order a new trial.