Judge dismisses Gage County claim against insurers in Beatrice Six case

Judge dismisses Gage County claim against insurers in Beatrice Six case
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)

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — A judge has ruled that Gage County’s insurance policies from a risk-sharing pool of companies don’t cover a $28 million jury verdict for the wrongful convictions of six people for a 1985 murder.

Judge Jodi Nelson of Lancaster County District Court dismissed the county’s claim earlier this month, saying that Gage County officials acted wrongly before the policies went into effect.

The ruling does not end the county’s pursuit against either of its insurance providers.

The case involves six people who were wrongfully convicted in the 1985 rape and slaying of 68-year-old Helen Wilson in Beatrice. The six spent more than 70 years combined in prison until DNA evidence cleared them in 2008.

In September the county board approved a plan to raise taxes to help pay off the verdict.

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