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Husband and Wife murder suspects may face separate trials

Attorneys discuss splitting cases
Posted at 10:54 AM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 21:48:22-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Blane and Susan Barksdale may face separate trials in the disappearance and death of Frank Bligh.

That possibility came out in a hearing today before Superior Court Judge Danelle Liwski.

The hearing was set to discuss setting a trial date for the couple but Prosecutor Chris Ward asked for a delay because of the prospect of “severance” —- the splitting of the case into two separate trials.

Tucson Police reports on the case indicate Susan Barksdale did share at least some information with detectives in the case; including the idea that Blane Barksdale wanted to steal and sell Bligh’s extensive gun collection.

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Last summer the Barksdales left Arizona as Tucson Police were preparing to arrest them in Bligh’s disappearance. U.S. Marshals found and arrested them in upstate New York.

A private prisoner transfer company was bringing them back to Arizona when they escaped. They were at large for close to two weeks before Marshals and Sheriff’s Deputies found them in Northern Arizona and brought then back into custody.

There was some indication Susan Barksdale’s attorney might be pursuing a plea deal for her. That prospect came up in a hearing last month. Now that idea may have stalled.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office uses what it calls a “panel” to discuss how best to handle homicide prosecutions. Prosecutor Chris Ward said in court today a panel had not reached an agreement on any plea deal in the case.

The Barksdale case is set for another hearing March 30. Possible trial dates are likely to be discussed then.

RELATED: How Marshals found husband and wife murder suspects