Bloomfield enters not guilty plea in wife's death

Former Iowa City resident accused of killing his wife in 1997

Published: January 2 2014 | 11:03 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:33 am in
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John Bloomfield has pleaded not guilty to accusations he killed his wife in Iowa City in 1997.

According to online court records, Bloomfield, 73, entered a written plea on Thursday, a day ahead of his scheduled arraignment. His attorney, Leon Spies of Iowa City, had previously indicated his client would plead not guilty. Bloomfield was formally charged with first-degree murder last month in Johnson County, several weeks after he was arrested on the charge in St. Paul, Minn.

Frances Bloomfield, 57, who lived at 38 Wakefield Court in Iowa City, was reported missing Sept. 22, 1997, by her husband John, then a researcher at the University of Iowa’s Center for Computer-Aided Design. Three days later, Winnebago County, Ill. authorities confirmed a body bound with pantyhose and wrapped in plastic and duct tape found in a ditch near Rockford was Bloomfield. Documents charging Bloomfield with his wife's murder allege he stuck her in the head and strangled her with a ligature.

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. 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. Authorities now say they have DNA and hair evidence connecting Bloomfield to the murder. Police said at the time of his wife's death, Bloomfield was interested in another woman.

Bloomfield moved from Iowa City shortly after his wife’s death and had been living in St. Paul, Minn. before being arrested in November. Spies said his client did not remarry and has been battling yet-unspecified health problems.

Judge Paul Miller has been assigned to preside over the case, which has not yet been scheduled for trial. A jury trial could potentially be a lengthy affair, with the state listing more than 50 potential witnesses to be called.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Bloomfield would spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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