Attorneys representing former Gage County law officers who investigated and prosecuted the so called Beatrice six, have filed a motion for summary judgment, maintaining the constitutional rights of those arrested and convicted were NOT violated.
The 77 page motion was filed in U.S. District Court in Lincoln, last Tuesday. Attorneys Paul Douglas, Richard Boucher, Jennifer Tomka and Patrick O’Brien state there’s no proof that law officers “made up evidence and conspired to manufacture evidence”.
Lawsuits alleging civil rights violations previously were filed by attorneys for Joseph White, Thomas Winslow, Ada Joann Taylor, James Dean and Kathy Gonzalez. All were convicted and served prison time for the 1985 murder and rape of Helen Wilson of Beatrice.
The motion for summary judgment was filed on behalf of former Gage County Attorney Richard Smith, former Sheriff Jerry Dewitt, investigator Burdette Searcey, Sheriff’s Deputy and Psychologist Wayne Price, and former deputies Kent Harlan, Mark Meints and Gerald Lamkin.
The motion cites procedures used in the investigation and interviews with suspects, in the presence of their attorneys. It says much of the evidence in the investigation of the murder and rape came from the defendants themselves, and noted that the suspects could have walked away from plea agreements and taken the matter to trial.
All of those convicted, except Joseph White, entered guilty pleas to various charges. White was convicted of murder in a Jefferson County District Court trial.