8th U.S. Circuit Court, Denies Gage County Request in Beatrice Six Case

BEATRICE – The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected Gage County’s request to have the full court reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling against the county, in the Beatrice Six case.

Gage County Attorney Roger Harris says county supervisors plan to meet with legal counsel handling the judgment case against the county of $28.1 million.  That will likely happen tomorrow during closed session, at the county supervisors meeting.

Harris said the full court’s decision, “is a disappointment, but not something that was totally unexpected”.

One option for the county is to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.   Gage County has also been exploring the issue of potential insurance coverage in lawsuits against two entities, as to whether coverage might help cover part of the judgment.  There’s been no resolution in those challenges.

Harris said today there are not a lot of options left regarding a legal challenge of the federal court jury decision that determined the civil rights of six people were violated.  The six served prison terms in the 1985 rape and murder of Helen Wilson.

The Beatrice Six, top row, from left: Tom Winslow, Ada JoAnn Taylor, Debra Shelden. Bottom row, from left: Kathy Gonzalez, James Dean and Joseph E. White. (World-Herald News Service)

The State of Nebraska exonerated the six after DNA evidence implicated a drifter in the crime, Bruce Allen Smith.  He died in Oklahoma, in 1992.

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