Three years after they were pardoned for a crime they didn't commit, two of the "Beatrice Six" are awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Joann Taylor spent nearly 20 years behind bars. Another man, James Dean, spent five and a half years. But today, Attorney General Jon Bruning says he doesn't think they should get money, and plans to appeal the decision. Bruning says they both committed perjury during the trial.
They were part of the so–called Beatrice Six. A group of people wrongly convicted for the murder of 65-year-old Helen Wilson.
And now, nearly thirty years after the murder, and four years after Bruce Allen Smith was identified as the real killer... Joann Taylor and James Dean have been awarded a combined $800,000 under the wrongful conviction and imprisonment act.
"Your ability to work, to obtain, gainful employment, to get over a nightmare that she experienced is easily worth the cap allowed, $500,000.00," Taylor's attorney Robert Bartle said.
But shortly after that decision came, Attorney General Jon Bruning announced he intends to appeal on the grounds of perjury.
In a written statement he said:
"Mr. Dean and Ms. Taylor provided false testimony that led to the conviction of an innocent man. We continue to believe the Nebraska Legislature did not intend to provide recovery to those who commit perjury under the wrongful conviction and imprisonment act. We will appeal this decision."
The man he's talking about is Joseph White who has since died. Taylor's attorney says during the trial, she and James Dean were both telling the truth as they knew it at the time. Therefore neither was committing perjury.
"I only ask him now to look very carefully and spend some time with Judge Bryan's order and I think he'll realize there was no perjury in this case. By either Mr. Dean or JoAnn Taylor. There was none," Bartle said.
Three others have also been compensated by the state in this case. A claim against by a sixth person is still pending. Bruce Allen smith, the actual murderer, died in 1992.
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