BEATRICE – Gage County Wednesday approved payments to six people or their estates, in a wrongful conviction case as the county continues to whittle away at a massive federal judgment that is owed.  The payments in the "Beatrice Six" case totaled over $2.92 million dollars.

"That will drop the judgment amount left...the remaining judgment to approximately eight million dollars...with interest and ongoing time."  Gage County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann says that’s what remains on the more than $30 million judgment for wrongful convictions in the murder and rape of a Beatrice woman in the 1980s…a case that went before a federal jury following DNA testing and resulted in the exoneration of six people. 

Gage County has also been using a legislature-authorized sales tax and insurance settlement money to pay the judgment.

In other matters Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a new one-year agreement with the Southeast Nebraska Drug Court program…with the county’s membership payment just short of $10,500.

The county board also voted to increase the amount paid to entities that take care of sixteen pioneer or abandoned cemeteries. Those organizations have been paid $500 per cemetery per year, since 2007. That includes mowing them at least five times per year. Board member Terry Jurgens notes, however, that the work goes beyond that minimum. "The law says five times a year, but in most cases it's done a lot more than that." Groups also provide fence repairs and tree removal.  Organizations maintaining the cemeteries will be paid $500 this spring and $500 in the fall, for their work taking care of the cemeteries.

Supervisors also renewed a child support enforcement agreement for a three-year period with local attorneys, which included a five-percent increase in contract. The county receives reimbursement for the enforcement work.

The board approved a utility permit sought by the City of Beatrice for installing new 16-inch diameter water man from the intersection of Southwest 89th and Elm Road….to near Hickory and Southwest 89th. The permit covers trenching or horizontal boring of pipe that will cross rivers, creeks and roadways.