Gage County Files Another Appeal of Beatrice Six Verdict, Award

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — Gage County is appealing a $28.1 million civil judgment it faces in a lawsuit filed by six people who claimed they were wrongly convicted of the 1985 rape and homicide of a Beatrice woman.

The county is asking the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to review the case and block the verdict a federal judge issued this summer.  Gage County Board Chairman Myron Dorn recently said that was a next step for the county.

The appeal should also buy more time for Gage County officials to come up with a plan to raise the money if the judgment is upheld.   Dorn noted that the county is continuing the research the issue of whether insurance coverage existed to help pay the jury award, through a Lincoln law firm.

:19                  “not known”

Attorney Jennifer Tomka says the county can’t easily pay the judgment if it is affirmed.  Dorn said the county has met with the area’s state senator as to whether any state assistance could help pay the judgment.

:04                  “and offer”

The six people who sued spent a combined 77 years in prison in the death of 68-year-old Helen Wilson before DNA testing resulted in their exoneration, in 2008.

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