"Six attorneys for a group of suspects who were wrongly convicted of a Gage County rape and killing asked a judge on Thursday to order the defendants in a federal civil case to pay $1.8 million in fees and costs. The lawyers for the Beatrice Six suspects are Jeffry Patterson, Maren Lynn Chaloupka, Robert Bartle, Douglas Stratton, Matthew Kosmicki and Herbert Friedman. They wrote in a brief filed in U.S. District Court that they collectively worked for 7,210 hours on the case. A federal court jury earlier this month slammed Gage County with a $28 million verdict for a reckless investigation that sent the wrong people to prison for the 1985 homicide of Helen Wilson. DNA testing in 2008 cleared the six people who collectively spent more than 70 years locked up. In 1989, investigators relied heavily on confessions from three suspects with histories of mental illness, two of whom told authorities that their memories came from dreams and nightmares. And investigators proceeded with the prosecutions even though none of the six perfectly matched the perpetrator’s blood or could be conclusively tied to his semen. The jury ordered payments of $7.3 million each to Joseph E. White, Thomas Winslow and Ada JoAnn Taylor. James Dean and Kathy Gonzalez were each awarded $2.19 million, and Debra Shelden was awarded $1.8 million. The award exceeds Gage County's annual budget of $27 million, according to documents filed with the state. The damages amount to nearly $1,300 for each of the county’s roughly 21,900 residents."
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