Woman wrongly convicted in Beatrice 6 murder case dies

(Source: Gray News)
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 12:59 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 1:00 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A woman who was one of six people wrongly convicted in the 1985 rape and murder of a Beatrice woman has died.

Kathleen “Kathy” Gonzalez of York died on Jan 10. while visiting Greeley, Colorado, according to her obituary. She was 62-years-old.

“She faced adversity that never really left her alone, yet she always refused to let it define her,” her obituary read.

Gonzales along with Joseph White, Thomas Winslow, Ada JoAnn Taylor, Deb Shelden and James Dean became known as the “Beatrice 6″ and spent more than 70 years in prison collectively for the rape and murder of 68-year-old Helen Wilson. They became the first people exonerated by DNA evidence after conviction in Nebraska in 2008. Wilson’s death was later linked by DNA to a former Beatrice resident and ex-con Bruce Allen Smith who had died in 1992.

The six wrongly-convicted people sued Gage County after their release from prison, alleging the county ran a reckless investigation. A federal jury awarded them $28.1 million in 2016, plus interest and attorney fees that raise the total to more than $30 million.

Gonzalez recently appeared in a HBO Max documentary called “Mind Over Murder” that covered the complex story.

A memorial service for Gonzalez will be held in York on Saturday.