BEATRICE, Neb. — Kathy Gonzalez knows that many people across the cornfields and cattle ranches of eastern Nebraska believe she is a murderer. It doesn’t change the fact that they owe her millions of dollars.
Ms. Gonzalez was one of six innocent people who collectively spent 77 years in prison in the murder of a 68-year-old woman named Helen Wilson, whose death haunted this rural county for decades. Now, years after DNA evidence exonerated the defendants, they are about to collect a million civil rights judgment against Gage County, which prosecuted them based on false confessions.
But because the county has limited financial resources and a dwindling population, nearly all of its 22,000 residents must foot the bill by paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in higher property taxes. County leaders have pleaded for help from state lawmakers, and even flirted with declaring bankruptcy.
“Do I think it’s fair these people are going to have to pay us off?” Ms. Gonzalez asked. “No. But it wasn’t fair what they did to us, either.”
The million jury award is one of the largest judgments ever levied against such a small place, say experts who study wrongful convictions. It has stirred resentment in the coffee shops and bars of Beatrice, a small town where suspicions about the defendants — known as the Beatrice Six — still linger like an oil stain on the road.
“There’s a feeling of, ‘Why us?’” said Myron Dorn, a state senator and former county supervisor who has introduced a bill that would allow Gage County to impose a sales tax to help raise money. “Why are we being held accountable for paying this off?”
The Beatrice case is an extreme example of the difficulties faced by those who have been promised compensation for being wrongfully convicted and spending years behind bars.
In Illinois, exonerated prisoners spent months waiting for compensation as state lawmakers dithered over passing a budget. Michigan’s wrongful compensation fund ran low on money earlier this year, and exonerees told The Detroit News that they were left to wait for payments as a bill to replenish the fund with million moved through the State Legislature.
Some in Gage County say the community has a moral obligation to compensate the Beatrice Six. Other residents say they should not be held financially responsible for an investigation and prosecution that unfolded more than three decades ago.
“I wasn’t even born,” said Nick Faulder, 25, who manages a paint store. He expects to pay an additional ,500 in property taxes this year on his family’s 320-acre farm. “I’m unfortunate enough to have to pay for the mistakes of the past leadership.”
But a darker view also pervades conversations across Beatrice’s downtown among those who still believe that the six people who were convicted are guilty, despite the pardons, the DNA evidence and the state-run investigation identifying a different killer.
“They knew too much about it to be innocent,” Karen Probst said one afternoon as she chatted with customers inside her family’s quilting store. Her family owns hundreds of acres of precious irrigated land outside Beatrice, with tax bills that she said were likely to increase by ,000 or more.
“They had some part in it,” her daughter, Ann Freese, said.
The tangled case began in February 1985, when Ms. Wilson was found inside the apartment where she lived by herself. She had been beaten, raped and suffocated.
Ms. Wilson was the heart of her family, recalled her grandson, Bob Houseman. She volunteered at a Methodist church in town, composed little poems for her grandchildren on their birthdays and was forever snapping photos and making tape recordings at family parties to preserve the memories.
“She’s the forgotten person in this,” Mr. Houseman said one morning, standing at the counter of his family’s dry-cleaning business, where he has spent 30 years answering people’s questions about his grandmother’s murder.
As the official investigation went cold, a former Beatrice police officer, Burdette Searcey, was pursuing his own private investigation, and eventually took over the case after he was hired as a Gage County sheriff’s deputy in 1989.
Mr. Searcey, who did not respond to a request for comment, focused on six mostly poor, troubled people with loose ties to Beatrice. Some had substance abuse problems and criminal records. One of the three women charged in the murder said she had been sexually assaulted multiple times as a girl and had spent her life dealing with mental illness. Another had developmental disabilities and said she had been raped by her stepfather.
“None of us were living aboveboard lives,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “We were all partyers. We were all basically chemically induced idiots. That made us disposable. That made it O.K. for them to throw us away.”
Gage County built its criminal case against the Beatrice Six by drawing out false confessions and manufactured memories from three of the defendants, a state-run inquiry and court reviews would later find. Investigators showed them photos of the crime scene. They dangled cooperation as a way of serving shorter sentences and avoiding the electric chair. They even urged the defendants to reach into their dreams to recall “suppressed memories” of the murder.
It was enough to convince five of the six to plead guilty or no contest in Ms. Wilson’s murder. Only one, Joseph White, took his case to trial, and he was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to life in prison after three of his co-defendants gave false testimony against him.
Mr. White never stopped insisting that he was innocent, and in 2008, he and his lawyers were able to obtain DNA tests that cleared Mr. White and the other five.
A task force led by Nebraska’s attorney general then identified the real killer as Bruce Allen Smith, who had been 22 at the time of the murder and was seen heading toward Ms. Wilson’s apartment building the night she was killed. Mr. Smith died in 1992.
After the Beatrice Six were exonerated, they filed a lawsuit against Gage County and the investigators who had put them behind bars.
Gage County spent a decade and nearly million in legal fees fighting the suit, rejecting offers to settle for million, before its final appeals were rejected by the United States Supreme Court early this month. The county’s insurance will not cover the judgment, which puts taxpayers on the hook for the full million.
As people around Beatrice wait for this year’s tax bills to arrive, the case boils up constantly in conversation, said Dana Hydo, whose family runs the Gems and Junk shop downtown.
“I’m amazed at how many people believe they did it,” she said one afternoon as she was tagging inventory. “I truly believe we put them in jail illegally.”
One of her customers piped up: “No way,” she said. “I think they did it.”
The Beatrice Six are not there to be part of the debate. They scattered across Nebraska and the rest of the country after being released from prison and cleared, and they do not speak much to one another. Mr. White, who spent almost 20 years in prison, was killed in a workplace accident in Alabama in 2011. One of the six still believes the false confession she gave implicating herself.
“It ruined all of our lives,” Ms. Gonzalez said.
Ms. Gonzalez now works as a cashier at a grocery store in the tiny town of York, Neb., and said the million she is owed could come in handy. She needs to buy a car, see a dentist to fix her teeth and install air-conditioning in her house before Nebraska’s summer swelter descends.
But in her view, the judgment is also poisoned, the money forever rooted in the murder of one innocent woman and the wrongful convictions of six others.
“This is not something you win at the lottery, something I’m inheriting from a rich relative,” she said. “Nobody wants this.”
Ms. Gonzalez, a voracious reader, often gets to work early to read the newspapers in the grocery store break room, and not long ago came upon a letter to the editor from a Gage County farmer who argued that his taxes should not have to go up on account of someone else’s actions 30 years ago.
Ms. Gonzalez said she was struck by the irony.
“Because I know about paying for something somebody else did,” she said.B:
彩票开奖结果【很】【不】【幸】，【让】【各】【位】【读】【者】【失】【望】【了】，【自】【己】【也】【失】【望】【了】。 【试】【卷】【一】：68【分】； 【试】【卷】【二】：90【分】。 【我】【败】【在】【了】【刑】【法】【上】【面】，【以】【及】【那】【堆】【没】【有】【在】【网】【上】【真】【真】【实】【实】【写】【出】【来】【的】【法】【理】【学】【和】【宪】【法】，【中】【国】【法】【律】【史】。【因】【为】【我】【没】【有】【把】【自】【己】【看】【的】【书】【本】【内】【容】，【结】【合】【生】【活】，【然】【后】【写】【出】【来】，【我】【没】【有】【在】【自】【己】【脑】【子】【里】【留】【下】【深】【刻】【印】【象】。 【第】【一】【次】【参】【加】【考】【试】，【第】【一】【场】，
【损】【失】【过】【半】【后】，【死】【亡】【军】【团】【撤】【走】【了】。 【这】【直】【接】【证】【明】，【这】【些】【炮】【灰】【拥】【有】【指】【挥】【者】，【且】【指】【挥】【就】【在】【不】【远】【处】。 【联】【军】【减】【员】【不】【大】，【被】【死】【亡】【军】【团】【击】【坠】【的】【机】【体】【不】【超】【过】100【台】。 【但】【他】【们】【并】【没】【有】【继】【续】【追】【击】。 【一】【者】，【很】【多】【机】【体】【受】【损】，【需】【要】【整】【备】【和】【维】【修】。【另】【一】【方】【面】，【状】【态】【极】【佳】【的】【驾】【驶】【员】【们】，【体】【力】【透】【支】【的】【相】【当】【厉】【害】，【他】【们】【同】【样】【需】【要】【休】【整】。
【是】【的】，【各】【位】【书】【友】，【你】【们】【没】【看】【错】，【是】【完】【本】【感】【言】！ 【其】【实】【做】【这】【个】【决】【定】，【作】【者】【也】【是】【思】【绪】【很】【久】【的】。 【因】【为】【作】【者】【现】【在】【是】【大】【四】，【并】【且】【准】【备】【了】【考】【研】。 【其】【实】【在】【这】【一】【年】【中】，【作】【者】【一】【直】【都】【在】【准】【备】【着】【考】【研】。 【而】【随】【着】20【年】【考】【研】【的】【脚】【步】【逐】【渐】【走】【进】。【离】12【月】【份】【的】【考】【试】【时】【间】【也】【只】【有】【不】【到】100【天】【的】【时】【间】【了】。 【这】【段】【时】【间】，【作】【者】【每】【天】【早】【上】
“【你】【小】【子】【也】【真】【够】【大】【胆】【的】，【居】【然】【敢】【一】【个】【人】【去】【追】【一】【个】【实】【力】【远】【胜】【于】【己】【的】【家】【伙】。【你】【这】【不】【是】【嫌】【命】【长】【吗】？”【待】【的】【敌】【人】【逃】【走】【后】，【乔】【伊】【才】【上】【前】【去】【查】【看】【凯】【文】【的】【伤】【势】，【一】【脸】【愤】【愤】【道】。 “【老】【娘】【把】【九】【龙】【吞】【天】【枪】【都】【给】【你】【了】，【在】【你】【身】【上】【押】【了】【重】【本】，【你】【要】【是】【死】【了】，【我】【可】【就】【亏】【大】【了】。” “【你】【知】【不】【知】【现】【在】【有】【多】【少】【人】【想】【要】【你】【的】【人】【头】？” 【凯】【文】【只】【得】【挠】【挠】彩票开奖结果【而】【老】【国】【王】【没】【有】【什】【么】【其】【他】【的】【爱】【好】，【就】【是】【爱】【钱】。 【看】【到】【金】【银】【珠】【宝】【就】【走】【不】【动】【道】。 【如】【果】【说】【大】【金】【鹏】【国】【还】【在】【的】【话】，【作】【为】【国】【王】，【就】【是】【睡】【在】【财】【宝】【堆】【里】【都】【行】，【但】【是】【大】【金】【鹏】【国】【已】【经】【被】【灭】【国】【了】，【虽】【然】【说】【他】【也】【带】【走】【了】【大】【批】【的】【财】【宝】，【但】【是】【锦】【衣】【玉】【食】【惯】【了】，【这】【钱】【根】【本】【就】【不】【够】【花】，【所】【以】【他】【们】【现】【在】【才】【那】【么】【急】【迫】【的】【找】【其】【他】【的】【三】【人】。 【而】【花】【家】……【钱】【多】【啊】
“【你】【觉】【得】【合】【适】，【就】【足】【够】【了】？【朝】【中】【大】【臣】，【还】【有】【天】【下】【的】【百】【姓】，【他】【们】【会】【信】【服】【吗】？”【瑜】【娢】【微】【微】【笑】【道】，“【本】【宫】【入】【宫】【多】【年】，【深】【知】【一】【个】【人】【的】【出】【身】，【有】【多】【重】【要】。【做】【妃】【嫔】【如】【此】，【做】【皇】【后】【就】【更】【重】【要】。” “【可】【是】，【皇】【上】【喜】【欢】【姐】【姐】，【也】【信】【任】【姐】【姐】。”【许】【若】【梅】【劝】【道】，“【您】【做】【了】【皇】【后】，【不】【就】【能】【与】【皇】【上】，【夫】【妻】【一】【心】【吗】？” “【这】【件】【事】，【以】【后】【再】【说】【吧】。
“【有】【人】【动】【用】【妖】【术】？”【副】【馆】【长】【抿】【了】【一】【口】【茶】，【觉】【得】【今】【天】【的】【味】【道】【不】【错】，【眯】【着】【眼】【睛】【道】。 【王】【老】【头】【坐】【在】【他】【对】【面】，【一】【只】【眼】【睛】【一】【翻】【骂】【道】：“【准】【是】【那】【臭】【小】【子】，【我】【刚】【告】【诉】【他】【不】【要】【惹】【事】，【话】【还】【没】【落】【地】，【他】【就】【给】【我】【玩】【雷】，【董】【重】【该】【不】【会】【在】【馆】【里】【吧】？” 【副】【馆】【长】【淡】【淡】【一】【笑】【道】：“【董】【重】【去】【北】【馆】【了】，【你】【好】【像】【很】【看】【重】【叫】【周】【林】【的】【小】【子】，【为】【什】【么】？” 【王】【老】