BEATRICE – Gage County has made its first payment of the civil rights judgment to the plaintiffs in the Beatrice Six case.
The payment totals about $1.9 million, a portion of the more than $28 million federal court judgment and legal fees in the case where six people were wrongfully convicted in the 1985 murder and rape of a Beatrice woman.
Gage County officials say it could be eight to nine years before the entire judgment is paid, but passage of a legislative bill this session allowing the county to enact a half-cent sales tax to help pay the judgment, could shorten that time period. The county is also setting their property tax level at the maximum 50-cent levy while the judgment is being paid.
The bill, by State Senator Myron Dorn, overcame a veto by Governor Pete Ricketts through a successful override.
The first payment in the judgment was part of claims approved Wednesday, by the Gage County Board of Supervisors.