Man Suspected In Wife's Murder Makes Initial Appearance In Johnson Co.

By Mark Carlson, Iowa City Bureau Chief

John Bloomfield makes his initial appearance before District Associate Court Judge Stephen Gerard via closed-circuit television at the Johnson County Courthouse on Friday, December, 13, 2013 in Iowa City, Iowa. Bloomfield is charged with first-degree murder in the 1997 death of his wife. (Adam Wesley/Gazette/KCRG-TV9)

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By Richard Pratt

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A 73-year-old man charged in the 1997 murder of his wife made his initial appearance in Johnson County court Friday morning.

John Bloomfield was arrested last month in Minnesota and charged with first-degree murder in the death his wife, Frances Bloomfield, 57.

During a brief appearance via video feed from the Johnson County jail, Bloomfield appeared frail. He used a cane to slowly move from the back of the jailhouse courtroom to the table, where he met with the judge on a television screen. Bloomfield's attorney has told KCRG-TV9 that his client is in poor health.

Police say Bloomfield strangled his wife in September 1997. Her body was later found wrapped in duct tape and plastic in a ditch near Rockford, Illinois. John Bloomfield told authorities he was in the Chicago area returning from a business trip at the time of his wife's death.

The judge set Bloomfield's bond at $1 million. Bloomfield spoke shortly and softly, only to answer questions from the judge.

According to jail documents, Bloomfield arrived in Johnson County late Thursday afternoon. He had been living in the Twin Cities after moving away from Iowa City a short time after his wife's death.
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