Brother's Suicide Note Frees Man Jailed for 16 Years

Kansas man killed himself when new evidence surfaced
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2015 5:15 AM CST
Brother's Suicide Note Frees Man Jailed for 16 Years
Floyd Bledsoe smiles during a press conference on Tuesday outside the Oskaloosa, Kan., courthouse.   (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

Kansas man Tom Bledsoe has confessed to raping and murdering the 14-year-old sister of his brother's wife, but he won't spend a day behind bars for the crime. The confession came in suicide notes that led to his younger brother's release from prison after 16 years, reports KSNT. Floyd Bledsoe, who was convicted in 2000 of murdering Camille Arfmann, was freed on Tuesday after a judge heard details from notes left by Tom, who was found dead in his car in a Walmart parking lot last month, NBC News reports. "I had sex with her and killed her," read part of one note. "Floyd S. Bledsoe is innocent, man. Thomas E. Bledsoe is the guilty one," read another, which investigators say contained details, including the location of a shell casing, that only the killer would know.

Tom's suicide came after the Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies at the University of Kansas released new DNA evidence showing that semen found in the girl's body probably came from him, not his brother, KSNT reports. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that two days after Camille disappeared, Tom confessed to killing her and led police to her body, only to later change his story and claim Floyd was the real killer. Floyd, 39—who has been behind bars since his Nov. 15, 1999, arrest—says he now wants to go back to milking cows, the Capital-Journal reports. "It's all just barely sinking in," he told reporters on Tuesday. "I mean, it's been a long time. I just want to take everything slow and take it all in." (Two wrongfully convicted North Carolina brothers were awarded $750,000 each for the 30 years they spent in prison.)

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