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Escaped Pair Accused of Arson and Murder Now in Custody

September 12, 2019 Criminal Law and Procedure

Blane and Susan Barksdale are accused of murdering 72 year old Frank Bligh in April 2019 in Tucson, Arizona. Police responded to Bligh’s residence after a fire and explosion had been reported. Authorities determined that Bligh had been murdered and that the home was purposefully set on fire. In addition, Bligh’s automobile was nowhere to be found. Susan Barksdale had been good friends with Bligh. Less than a month after Bligh’s death both Susan and Blane Barksdale were charged with arson, auto theft, first-degree murder and second-degree burglary.

The First Escape

Before authorities could arrest them the duo made a run for it. There was a nationwide search for most of May 2019. Eventually, the couple was found thousands of miles away in New York and arrested. 

The Second Escape

The Barksdales were being transported from New York to Arizona to be officially charged with arson, auto theft, first-degree murder and second-degree burglary. The pair faked a medical emergency mid transport and threw the drivers in the back of the van making their escape. 

They were on the lam for 16 days. The two were found just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. A friend of the couple, who is on probation for being a meth dealer, was housing them and acting as their accomplice. Susan was cooperative with authorities, however, Blane was not. Blane was accused of swearing, using offense gestures, and being noncompliant towards authorities. This lead to him being tased prior to his arrest. The couple’s friend and others are being investigated for assisting the wanted alleged fugitives. David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshal of Arizona, suspects that Blane has connections with white supremacist gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood. He attributes Blane’s criminal connections to his previous state and federal prison time. 

ArborYpsi Law TakeAways

Blane and Susan Barksdale certainly made their current legal situations worse by evading law enforcement not once but two times. It is almost certain that additional charges will now be added for evading police initially, assaulting two prison guards and then, to top it off, evading arrest again. It is unknown what evidence lead authorities to charge the couple with arson, auto-theft, burglary, and the murder of Frank Bligh. It’s crucial to remember that every person is innocent until proven guilty. Just because these two individuals were charged with Bligh’s murder and burning down his home does not mean they are guilty of the crimes. 

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Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor Criminal Defense Attorney.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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ArborYpsi Law Focuses on Criminal Defense

Sam Bernstein is a criminal defense lawyer in Washtenaw County. He has represented clients in Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, Livingston, Lenawee and Jackson County. He has practiced criminal defense in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea, Saline, Plymouth, Brighton, Canton, Westland, Novi, Howell, Northville, Wyandotte, Taylor, Detroit, Livonia, Warren, Southgate, Detroit, and Jackson among other Metro-Detroit cities.

Charged With a Crime?

If you have been charged with arson, auto theft, first-degree murder, or burglary call ArborYpsi Law. Attorney Sam Bernstein specializes in criminal defense. He has experience trying felony cases that result in favorable outcomes for his clients. We regularly fight cases and keep charges off our client’s records. We strongly believe everyone is innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. ArborYpsi Law is not afraid to challenge the system and take a case to trial. Too often clients are charged with crimes that they did not commit. Don’t be a victim of the system. If you have been wrongly accused of a crime call ArborYpsi Law today.

ArborYpsi Law is Experienced in Criminal Defense

Attorney Sam Bernstein will fight for you in court. ArborYpsi law represents clients charged with assault and battery, domestic violence, domestic assault, arson, burglary, auto-theft, domestic violence, drunk driving, Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Impaired (DWI), Operating While Impaired (OWI), sex crimes, divorce, retail fraud, traffic tickets, expungements, drinking and driving, drug charges, shop lifting, sexual assault, rape, child abuse, and child endangerment.