Former fugitive couple plead not guilty to Arizona killing

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A couple arrested after a 16-day escape from extradition to southern Arizona to face charges in a murder case have pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say 56-year-old Blane Barksdale and his 59-year-old wife, Susan, had a video arraignment Thursday in Pima County Superior Court in Tucson.

They are facing first-degree murder and other charges in the April death of 72-year-old Frank Bligh, whose body hasn’t been found.

The Barksdales were arrested in upstate New York in May and escaped Aug. 26 in Utah while being transported to face charges in the Bligh case.

Authorities say the couple overpowered two private security guards in a transport van after Susan Barksdale faked a medical emergency.

The Barksdales were arrested Sept. 11 in a remote area about 88 miles (141 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix.

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