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Tucson murder suspects, Blane and Susan Barksdale, plead not guilty

Tucson murder suspect couple pleads not guilty
Posted at 2:44 PM, Sep 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 17:52:13-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - A Tucson couple who broke out of custody then were captured by authorities< /span> after a manhunt that lasted longer than two weeks appeared in court Thursday.

Blane and Susan Barksdale, who are accused of killing Frank Bligh and burning down his home in April< /span> , entered not guilty pleas in Pima County Superior Court. They will next appear at 9 a.m. Oct. 21 for a case management conference.

Both are locked up at the Pima County Jail on a $1 million bond.

The U.S. Marshals Service says they captured Blane Barksdale and Susan Barksdale Sept. 10.

Blane Barksdale was on a list of the 15 Most Wanted Fugitives in the nation.< /p>

The US Marshals led the arrest effort after the Barksdales -- a married couple -- overwhelmed two civilian guards who tried to bring them from New York State to Tucson.

Authorities found the Barksdales at Punkin Center on the edge of the Tonto National Forest.

Video from an Arizona DPS helicopter shows how Blane Barksdale seemed to be surrendering, but then he made some threatening moves that led to a hit from a TASER and a blast from a beanbag gun that brought him down.

Susan Barksdale surrendered without incident.

Authorities say their investigation will focus on those who helped the Barksdales avoid capture, or provided aid to them after they escaped custody late last month.

After the April murder, the Barksdales allegedly fled across the country before authorities apprehended them in Syracuse, New York.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department hired a private security company to extradite the Barksdales to Arizona. In Utah, Arizona's U.S. Marshal David Gonzales says the Barksdales were able to overpower the two guards with them, then drove the prison van back to Arizona with both guards and another inmate inside.

Somewhere around Show Low, someone lent them the GMC pickup truck, leading to the search.