"It's shameful for what they did. They are unrepentant, they're engaged in self-deception, they have no remorse for what they have done, or if they do, they want to keep it very hidden. These people doing this stuff are so cruel. They are cruel like little children who pull wings off of butterflies and stick pins in beetles' eyes." - Legendary Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers reflecting on the Gage County officials responsible for the six wrongful murder convictions in the slaying of 68-year-old widow Helen Wilson "Burt Searcey, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, actually believes that Jo and the other five had something to do with Helen Wilson's death. That belief is literally unshakable in him." - Public defender Lyle J. Koenig, who represented JoAnn Taylor, one of the six wrongfully convicted people targeted by Gage County Sheriff's Deputy Burt Searcey in his investigation of the murder of Helen Wilson "I would imagine it would be hard for someone to reconcile themselves to the notion that they had put six innocent people in jail for fifty-some odd years in the aggregate, without some feeling of remorse." - Public defender Lyle Koenig reflecting on Burt Searcey, the misguided Gage County sheriff's deputy who sent six innocent people to prison for a vicious murder committed by someone else "The only real pressure we had was from the daughter of the lady that was killed. And she didn't think we were doing enough. We talked to her and we had the FBI profile. And they visited with her a little bit. She wasn't satisfied with what they were doing either." - Donald Luckeroth, the late former police chief of Beatrice, Nebraska, reflecting on the Helen Wilson murder case. "He worked for me at the Police Department for several years. He wasn't a team worker. When he left the department, he made the statement that it was a very poor administration. He decided to quit and become a hog farmer. I wasn't sorry to see him go." - Donald Luckeroth, the late former police chief of Beatrice, Nebraska, on former police officer Burt Searcey "I understand that Joseph was a stripper in California or somewhere. Somewhere along the line, he picked JoAnn up. She had a kid. I know JoAnn was on drugs. She told me she was on drugs numerous times. She told me she carried weapons, and I believed her. And she was a fighter. She loved to fight. And she loved to drink. And she loved her drugs." - Sam Stevens, long-time Beatrice Police Department detective, reflecting on eventual murder suspects JoAnn Taylor and Joseph White "When I looked back in the mirror, I saw me as a blonde with my hair up in the way the Victorian women used to wear it ... So we know that one of my lives has been during the Victorian ages, but we cannot pinpoint anything further than that." - JoAnn Taylor, who implicated herself in the murder of Helen Wilson, claimed she had lived at least five different past lives "I was convicted under perjurous testimony. I am not guilty of this crime. I have never been guilty of this crime, and even if the sentence is getting out due to parole, then I will take that opportunity to prove my innocence." - Joseph White, the beanpole from Alabama, steadfastly maintained his innocence in the rape and murder of Helen Wilson though a Nebraska jury disagreed "I am disappointed that twenty years ago, in their zeal to make a community feel safe again, to solve an unthinkable crime, the former county attorney and some members of law enforcement bullied six innocent people into admitting crimes they didn't commit." - Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning "While there is no doubt today that six people innocent of this crime have indeed suffered, we are doing now what we must and that is to give the public the unvarnished truth. It is they who will judge those who made these mistakes." - Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning
Six Times More Explosive Than 'Making A Murderer'!"John Ferak has carved his necessary true-crime niche with another fascinating exploration of unalloyed evil in overlooked places, and a dysfunctional judicial system. A chilling piece of journalism."—Ron Franscell, author of THE DARKEST NIGHT and MORGUE: A LIFE IN DEATHFrom The Bestselling Author of BODY OF PROOF and DIXIE'S LAST STAND
Everyone felt the same way: small-town Nebraska widow Helen Wilson didn’t have an ounce of meanness inside her body. Then on February 5, 1985, one of the coldest nights on record, the unthinkable happened. The sixty-eight-year-old resident was murdered inside her second-floor apartment, but why?
Local residents were floored. What type of monster would target a vulnerable widow to fulfill his homicidal sexual fantasies? The crime scene was eerily ritualistic. The trail of evidence turned frustratingly cold until an astonishing breakthrough occurred four years later. A torn scrap of money recovered at the crime scene became the presumed smoking gun that helped solve the hideous crime. The news of six arrests was absolutely stunning to the locals in this easy-going, blue-collar community of 12,000 residents. But why were six loosely connected misfits who lived as far away as Alabama, Colorado and North Carolina being linked to the rape and murder of a beloved Nebraska widow?
As they sat in jail, the constant threat of Nebraska’s barbaric electric chair scared the daylights out of these troubled souls, except for one of them. Joseph White remained defiant in his fight to prove his innocence. It didn’t matter. All six of the condemned were convicted of murder and sent away to prison for the ghastly crime. The town moved on, convinced that justice was served.
For more than twenty-five years, the Beatrice 6 rotted in prison, until the unthinkable occurred in 2008. Now, the red state in America’s Heartland faced a real quandary that could only mean one thing: Nebraska had a colossal FAILURE OF JUSTICE on its hands.
In his latest thrilling true crime book, bestselling and award-winning author John Ferak explores the murder, investigation, trial, conviction and eventual exoneration--the largest such ever in the United States--of the Beatrice 6. For more great WildBlue Press reads, visit our site at wildbluepress.com