Government & Politics

For 16 years behind bars, innocent man gets more than $1 million under new Kansas law

Man spent 16 years behind bars after wrongful conviction

Floyd Bledsoe was convicted of murder for a crime is own brother confessed to, even leading investigators to the body. After spending a few days in jail, Thomas Bledsoe recanted his confession and blamed his brother Floyd. DNA, and a suicide note
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Floyd Bledsoe was convicted of murder for a crime is own brother confessed to, even leading investigators to the body. After spending a few days in jail, Thomas Bledsoe recanted his confession and blamed his brother Floyd. DNA, and a suicide note

The State of Kansas is set to award Floyd Scott Bledsoe more than $1 million in compensation for the 16-plus years he spent incarcerated for crimes he did not commit, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced in a news release Thursday.

Bledsoe is the second person to win compensation after the state Legislature passed a bill last year that makes the wrongly imprisoned eligible to receive $65,000 in compensation for each year they spent locked up.

In 2000 Bledsoe was convicted of murder, kidnapping and indecent liberties in connection with the 1999 killing of Camille Arfmann. In 2015 DNA testing revealed his brother, Tom Bledsoe, had committed the crimes.

In order to get the money, Bledsoe had to file a lawsuit and prove in court that he met certain conditions and did not commit the crimes he was convicted of. The payment still needs to be reviewed by the State Finance Council next month.

In addition to compensation, records of Bledsoe’s conviction and arrest have been expunged, he has been given a certificate of innocence, access to counseling and permission to use State of Kansas healthcare benefits for the next two years.

“We are committed to faithfully administering the state’s mistaken-conviction law as the legislature wrote it,” Schmidt said in the release.

“In this case, it was possible based on review and evaluation of the existing record and discovery from Mr. Bledsoe to resolve all issues, satisfy all of the statute’s requirements, and agree to this outcome so Mr. Bledsoe can receive the benefits to which he is entitled by law because of his mistaken conviction.”

Three lawsuits filed under the mistaken-conviction statute are still pending, the release said.

The suit for Richard Anthony Jones, who was released in the “doppelganger case,” was settled in December. Jones was released from prison in 2017 after serving 17 years for a crime committed by a person who looked like him.

Jones was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on illegal weapons and drug charges.

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Katie Bernard covers Kansas crime, cops and courts for the Kansas City Star. She joined the Star in May of 2019. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.

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