New Counsel in Wrongful Conviction Lawsuits

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Gage County supervisors have appointed new lead attorneys to handle wrongful conviction lawsuits in the 1985 killing of a Beatrice woman.

Patrick O'Brien and Jennifer Tomka will represent the county and several individuals in the lawsuits surrounding Helen Wilson's death and wrongful conviction of six people.

The so-called Beatrice Six were pardoned in 2009 after DNA evidence exonerated them.

O'Brien and Tomka's appointment follows the death of lead legal counsel Paul Douglas earlier this month. Gage County Attorney Roger Harris says Douglas, a former Nebraska attorney general, had worked for the county since the beginning of the litigation.

A federal appeals court last month ruled that five people cleared by DNA evidence can sue for wrongful conviction.

A sixth person didn't sue.


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