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Wrongfully convicted man taking up death penalty

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 19:25:37-05

After spending 16 years in a prison cell for a crime he did not commit, Floyd Bledsoe is making it his personal mission to abolish the death penalty.

In 2000, Bledsoe stood trial in the shooting death of his 14-year-old sister-in-law Camille Arfmann. A jury found him guilty of murder.

"It is the most sickening feeling that I have ever felt in my life, you know, I mean, because your heart drops," said Bledsoe.

He was sentenced to life. Just last October, new DNA evidence pointed to his brother, Tom Bledsoe, as the real killer. In November, his brother killed himself, but not before confessing in a suicide letter.

Floyd Bledsoe stepped into the world a free man in December and is now taking on the death penalty.

"Death is one thing that you cannot appeal and say, 'Oops, we're bad, you know, we're sorry,' you know it's over," said Floyd Bledsoe.

Not everyone agrees with his push to end capital punishment, including Johnson County Prosecutor Steve Howe.

"There are certain crimes, a very limited number of murders that are so heinous and atrocious that the death penalty warrants those actions," said Howe.

Howe says Kansas has one of the most restrictive criteria for the death penalty. In eight years in Johnson County, Howe has only sought the death penalty once, for Frazier Glenn Cross. Howe calls it a moral issue and a judgment call for prosecutors seeking death.

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"We do not want to convict a person and seek a death sentence unless we are absolutely sure, convinced that we have the right guy," said Howe.

Still, it leaves little comfort to Floyd Bledsoe. "It's better to protect one innocent person then to condemn one innocent person with a hundred people," he said.

A GoFundMe page has been started for Floyd Bledsoe to help with cost adjusting to life outside of prison walls. 

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Ali Hoxie can be reached at ali.hoxie@kshb.com.

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