Judge sets hearing on pretrial release of Iowa City murder suspect

Bloomfield said to have serious illness, asks to return to St. Paul for treatment

Erin Jordan
Published: February 11 2014 | 10:51 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:29 am in
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A former Iowa City man charged with murdering his wife in 1997 has asked to be released from jail until his July 8 trial so he can undergo treatment for a serious illness.

John Bloomfield, 73, is being held on $1 million cash bond for charges of first-degree murder. He’s accused of striking his wife, Frances Bloomfield, 57, in the head and strangling her before leaving her in a ditch near Rockford, Ill., around Sept. 22, 1997. The couple lived in Iowa City at the time.

Bloomfield’s attorney, Leon Spies, has asked the court to let Bloomfield move back to Bloomfield's house in St. Paul, Minn., where he can receive treatment from doctors who are most familiar with his illness. Spies said he will describe his client’s condition at a hearing on the motion.

District Judge Paul Miller set a hearing on the request for Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. in Johnson County District Court.

“Although the defendant has recently been transferred from the Johnson County Jail to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center and the defendant is receiving comparatively greater care in a more appropriate setting, his medical condition is deteriorating and poses a real and present danger to his ability to effectively assist in the preparation of his defense,” Spies wrote.

Because of Bloomfield’s “frail physical condition,” it’s unlikely he would try to flee, Spies wrote.

“The defendant was also aware of intense law enforcement and prosecution attention given to the case from early 2011 to late 2012, and during that time made no efforts to flee or avoid possible prosecution,” Spies wrote.

If the release is approved, Bloomfield would pay for 24-hour electronic monitoring by Minnesota-based General Security Services Corporation and would have a “suitable third-party custodian” who would monitor his compliance with pretrial release.

Bloomfield pleaded not guilty to the charges last month. If convicted, he would serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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 before being arrested in November. Spies said his client did not remarry.

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