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Barksdale nephew to plead guilty to arson in Tucson case

September 16, 2019

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A man accused of setting fire to the Tucson home of an alleged murder victim has agreed to plead guilty to arson charges.

Authorities say 30-year-old Brent Mallard is the nephew of Blane Barksdale, who is charged with his wife in the presumed death of 72-year-old Frank Bligh.

At a plea hearing Friday in Pima County Superior Court, Mallard said he has no knowledge of the actual alleged murder plot.

Authorities say Bligh’s home was burned in April, and his body hasn’t been found.

The Barksdales were recaptured Wednesday in a remote Arizona community after escaping from a prison transport van in Utah 16 days earlier.

Authorities say the couple overwhelmed private guards who were bringing them from New York state to Tucson to face prosecution in the Bligh case.

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