Partial bailout for botched Nebraska murder case advances

Nebraska News

The State Capitol stands in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, July 1, 2020. Nebraska lawmakers will resume their session on July 20, 2020, after a four-month pause triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. They still have major issues to address, including a property tax package and an upgrade of Nebraska’s biggest tax incentive program, but all of that may be overshadowed by the pandemic’s impact on tax revenue. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A rural Nebraska county that was ordered to pay a $28.1 million legal judgment for sending six innocent people to prison could get a $4 million bailout from the state under a bill that won initial approval from lawmakers.

Lawmakers advanced the measure, 35-3, through the first of three required votes. Supporters initially proposed a $10 million payment over two years, but reduced it after some senators expressed reservations about that amount.

Officials in Gage County have sought state help ever since a federal judge ordered them in 2018 to pay the wrongfully convicted people, known as the Beatrice Six.

The $28.1 million judgment is more than three times the total annual property tax collections in the county.

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