After spending a collective 70 years in prison, the Beatrice Six were pardoned in 2009, when DNA testing proved them innocent. Their conviction was largely based on false confessions, which each of the six testified they were forced into through rigorous interrogations and threats of the death penalty.
Last Thursday, the federal civil rights trial that sought compensation for the six ended in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The suit against the investigators who made the case against the six was focused on determining whether or not the initial investigation was reckless and investigators manufactured evidence against the six convicted.
The case of the Beatrice Six is a clear example of the dangers posed by the death penalty, both for innocent people in a system where they can be wrongfully convicted, and especially in cases where the threat of the death penalty is used to convict the innocent. We will continue to monitor their suit as it returns to court later this year, and, more importantly, share their story with Nebraskans to emphasize how important it is for our state to do away with the death penalty for good.