State Seeks Pardons for Defendants Wrongfully Convicted in 1985 Nebraska Murder

"Do you remember a struggle in the bedroom, do you remember the light in the bedroom, was there blood on the sheets, was there blood on the walls?" an investigator asked.

"Yeah, yeah I do."

"Okay. There was a very big battle in that bedroom wasn't there?"

"It was scary."

"Was it a violent battle?"

"It was gross."

"Okay. You was out of your mind, wanted to get out of there weren't you?"

"Yes."

"And there was a knife involved in that bedroom?"

"Yes."

Later, an investigator asks if another woman could have been present for the attack.

"There could have been," Taylor said.

"Was there another female JoAnn?"

"Yeah."

"Was there a Beth?"

"Yeah."

Police ultimately concluded that Beth was not there during the attack.

Taylor and Shelden eventually pleaded guilty and testified against White. Taylor testified that she held a pillow over Wilson's head and smothered her while White raped her. It took a jury less than three hours to convict White of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison. Taylor was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Wilson pleaded no contest after White's conviction. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. All three were released from prison last year.

On the night of Feb. 5, 1985, Bruce Allen Smith, the actual killer, was getting drunk at the R&S Bar. A police investigation would find that he left with some friends to go to Jamie Southwell's house.

Witnesses would tell police that Smith threatened to rape Southwell, saying he always gets what he wants. Smith passed out in her bed before being thrown out of the house. Witnesses said Smith, who died of AIDS in 1992, was drunk and angry when he left. As he was stumbling to the car, he said, "I'm going to get a piece of ass no matter what."

A friend dropped Smith in Beatrice at around 3 a.m. that morning. He last saw Smith walking down the street, heading north towards Helen Wilson's apartment.

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