SAINT PAUL - John Bloomfield will be back in Iowa City in a matter of weeks to face accusations he killed his wife there 16 years ago.
Bloomfield, 73, now of St. Paul, Minn., appeared before a Ramsey County judge Thursday for a brief hearing to determine whether he would fight extradition back to Johnson County. Dressed in a short-sleeve orange jail jumpsuit and separated from the judge and his public defender by a short wooden wall and glass partition, Bloomfield said he would agree to be sent back to Johnson County to stand trial for first-degree murder.
Taking off his glasses to read the paperwork presented to him by the attorney, Bloomfield answered in single word responses when asked if he understood the implications of the extradition process.
Iowa City lawyer Leon Spies, who will be representing Bloomfield upon his return to Iowa, said he didn't know what kind of "lag time" would exist between Thursday's hearing and his client's return to Johnson County.
"The county attorney will have to decide when they decide to fill a trial information," Spies said. "After that he’ll have an arraignment and we’ll enter a not guilty plea and the case will be set for trial."
Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said Bloomfield should be back in Iowa City within a couple weeks. Conditions of his release will be determined within 24 hours of his initial appearance in Iowa City court.
“We’ll proceed on like any other case,” she added.
Spies has said his client is in poor health and, given that, there are some "logistical problems" in getting him from St. Paul to Iowa City. He said Ramsey County, Minn. and Johnson County authorities are currently sorting out those matters.
Once Bloomfield is in Johnson County, Spies said he will be taking measures to ensure his client receives appropriate medical treatment, something Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said his staff has already begun discussing.
"Obviously, Mr. Bloomfield’s safety and wellbeing are paramount," Spies said. "I’ll be asking the court and [Johnson County] sheriff’s department to exercise whatever steps are necessary to make sure he’s in a safe environment."
Bloomfield's wife, Frances Bloomfield, 57, who lived at 38 Wakefield Court in Iowa City, was reported missing Sept. 22, 1997, by her husband John — a researcher at the University of Iowa’s Center for Computer-Aided Design. Three days later, Winnebago County, Ill. authorities found a body bound with pantyhose and wrapped in plastic and duct tape in a ditch near Rockford.
Authorities believed Bloomfield had been strangled in her Iowa City home. Court documents released in 1997 revealed investigators who responded to the Bloomfield home found blood stains in two bedrooms on the second floor of the home, as well as a mark that indicated Bloomfield was dragged through the hallway.
A blood stain also was found on the wall at the bottom of the stairs between the first and second floors, and two stains were located on the garage floor, according to the documents, which are detailed in a Nov. 26, 1997, Gazette article.
Her car was later discovered at Newark, N.J., International Airport.
John Bloomfield told authorities he was in the Chicago area returning from a business trip at the time of his wife’s death. However, police said Bloomfield was unable to sufficiently account for the time when he would have been driving.If convicted of first-degree murder, a class A felony, Bloomfield would spend the rest of his life in prison.