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Husband and wife murder suspects: Guns a key piece of the Barksdale case

Charged with stealing guns from alleged victim
Posted at 7:04 PM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 22:04:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - What would prompt Blane and Susan Barksdale to risk a murder charge?

The two are back in custody after their stint as fugitives.

Their indictment claims theft of the murder victim's guns is a part of the case.

Now that Blane and Susan Barksdale are safely locked up at the Pima County Jail we have access to some court documents that give us some insights investigators have not been able to talk to us about.

Tucson Police served a search warrant on the Barksdales in mid April just days after Frank Bligh disappeared. They were on the run soon after that until US Marshals caught them in upstate New York in late May.

Pima County used a private company to bring them back to Tucson but authorities say they jumped the guards and escaped.

Sixteen days went by before Marshals found them again in Northern Arizona. It took shots from a bean bag gun and a jolt from a TASER to bring Blane Barksdale down.

With the Barkdales back in custody they faced their arraignment Thursday. That was their formal warning of the charges they face and the event that made the indictment against them an open public record.

Among the charges:

-First degree murder in the death of Frank Bligh.

-Burglary in the break-in of Bligh's house.

-Theft of Bligh's car, where police say they found signs that convince them Bligh is dead.

-Concealment of a dead body because Bligh's remains have never been found.

Blane Barksdale is charged with arson in the burning of Bligh's house. Another man, Brent Mallard has already pleaded guilty to arson. He's waiting to learn his sentence. Prosecutors say he does not know details of any alleged murder.

While Frank Bligh disappeared in April one count of the indictment claims Blane and Susan Barksdale were working to victimize Bligh as early as January---developing a plan to steal guns from Bligh.

In an interview while the Barksdales were still on the run, Bligh's brother William said his brother had as many as a hundred guns. Just as Frank Bligh disappeared, we have no report those guns were ever found.