Today’s property owners in Gage County will pay for the mistakes made by their law officers and prosecutors over 30 years ago. The County Board has approved a plan to raise taxes to help pay off a $28.1 million jury verdict for the wrongful convictions of six people for a 1985 murder.
The board on Wednesday approved its $36 million annual budget, including a measure to raise the levy to the maximum allowable 50 cents. In July, a federal appeals court affirmed the jury award. County officials still hope the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn it.
The case involves six people who were wrongfully convicted in the 1985 rape and murder of 68-year-old Helen Wilson in Beatrice. The six spent more than 75 years combined in prison until DNA evidence cleared them in 2008. After years in Court, they won the multi-million dollar judgment.
The raised levy is expected to generate an additional $3.8 million annually. The county currently collects about $8 million a year in taxes.