A federal appeals court has upheld a $28.1 million judgment against Gage County and two law enforcement officials for a Nebraska case involving six people who were wrongfully convicted of murder.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to overturn the jury’s 2016 verdict in a ruling issued Monday.
The verdict was awarded to the group, known as the Beatrice Six, for their wrongful conviction in the 1985 rape and killing of 68-year-old Helen Wilson.
When the Beatrice Police Department ended their investigation of the case without an arrest, the Gage County Sheriff’s Department took it over a couple of years after the crime occurred.
John Ferak wrote a book about the case, “Failure of Justice” and described in 2016 to KSCJ’s Brian Vakulskas what happened next:
OC……..department detectives. :23
That theory was that it was a robbery gone bad that turned into a gang rape despite evidence to the contrary.
The sheriff’s department investigation led to the out of state arrests of Joseph White and JoAnn Taylor along with four other people:
OC………North Carolina. :32
The suspects were threatened with the death penalty, and some of them confessed even though they had not committed the crime:
OC…..connected with. ;23
They spent more than 75 years combined in prison until DNA evidence cleared them in 2008.
The evidence instead pointed to an Oklahoma City man who died in 1992.
Joseph White is now also deceased.
His claim was continued by his lawyer, Norfolk Attorney Doug Stratton.
The lawsuit alleged that law enforcement officials recklessly strove to close the case despite contradictory evidence.