Suspects wrongly persuaded of their guilt to share in $28M award

The case of the wrongly imprisoned “Beatrice Six” came to a close Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a Nebraska county’s appeal of a $28.1 million judgment for a reckless investigation by its sheriff’s department.

The six murder defendants served an estimated, collective 70 years in prison before they were exonerated based on DNA evidence that identified another man as the culprit, report the Washington Post, the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star.

Five of the defendants had pleaded guilty or no contest in the 1985 murder and rape of Helen Wilson in Beatrice, Nebraska. Three of them “wholeheartedly believed in their guilt,” according to the Washington Post.

A police psychologist, Wayne Price, had persuaded the three suspects that they couldn’t remember the crime because of repressed memories. He encouraged suspects to use “unconscious recall” to remember the crime and to use information in their dreams to identify suspects, according to a June 2018 opinion by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis.

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