Fugitive married murder suspects recaptured in Arizona

Tucson Police Department via Reuters Blake Barksdale and his wife Susan Barksdale

Blane Barksdale, 56, and Susan Barksdale, 59, of Arizona, were captured without incident by US Marshals and the Navajo County Sheriff's Office, according to Arizona's 12 News.

The married couple accused of killing a 72-year-old man and then escaping as they were being transported from NY to Arizona to face charges has been taken into custody.

The couple was originally arrested in May after they were found hiding in an RV in a Henrietta parking lot.

While in the Blanding, Utah area, the two faked a medical emergency and then overpowered their guards when they stopped the van. One of the Barksdales drove the truck while the other continued to drive the prison van - until abandoning it in the middle of the high desert, with the three victims still locked inside, Gonzales said.

Earlier this week, Blane Barksdale was added to the U.S. Marshals' 15 "most wanted" list, and authorities said described him as a career criminal who is believed to be connected to the Aryan Brotherhood and white supremacist gangs. A third inmate who had been picked up in Kansas City was also in the van, but wanted "nothing to do with" the Barksdales' escape plan, Gonzales said.

Last month's transport of the two accused killers was being conducted by a private company, STS.


Both agencies plan to hold a joint news conference in Phoenix at 11 a.m. Thursday to provide further details about the couple's capture, Tucson's KOLD-TV reported. The sheriff's office said it assisted the U.S. Marshall's Service in capturing the fugitives.

Tucson police say a fire followed by an explosion broke out in April at the home of Frank Bligh before his vehicle was found abandoned the next day.

The Barksdales took the van and headed for Vernon, Ariz., a town so small it doesn't have a police force.

Neither of the guards were hurt, but they were bound with shoelaces, Gonzales said. By the time authorities reached the guards, the couple had been gone for several hours.

In Pima County, the Barksdales are facing charges of first-degree murder, arson, burglary and auto theft. The reward for information leading to Susan Barksdale's arrest was set at $10,000.

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