TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona couple who sparked a nationwide manhunt in 2019 after escaping have both been convicted in a Tucson murder case.

Pima County prosecutors said Blane Barksdale, who turns 59 next month, was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison while his wife was sentenced to five years. Both were credited with nearly three years already served.

The couple have been charged with the disappearance of 72-year-old Frank Bligh, whose Tucson home burned down in an explosion and fire in April 2019.

Blane Barksdale pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and as part of a plea deal, prosecutors said he must tell Tucson police where Bligh’s body was buried. He was found four months ago in a wild area.


Susan Barksdale, who is in her early 60s, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case.

Prosecutors said the couple befriended Bligh and then pawned part of his gun collection after his death.

U.S. Marshals found and arrested the Barksdales in upstate New York in May 2019, but they escaped to Utah three months later from a prisoner transport van taking them back to Tucson for face charges.

Federal authorities located the couple 16 days later about 90 miles (144 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix and re-arrested them.


Source link