The woman wrongly convicted of the murder of Beatrice 6 dies

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska) – A woman who was one of six people wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a female Beatrice in 1985 has died.

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

“She faced adversity that never truly 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 acquitted on DNA evidence following a Nebraska conviction in 2008. Wilson’s death was later DNA-linked to a former Beatrice resident and ex-con Bruce Allen Smith, who died in 1992.

The six wrongfully convicted individuals sued Gage County following their release from jail, alleging that the county conducted a reckless investigation. A federal jury awarded them $28.1 million in 2016, plus interest and attorney fees, bringing the total to more than $30 million.

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

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

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