Debra Shelden, known as one of the Beatrice Six, links to the murder of 68-year-old Helen Wilson. On 6 February 1985, Helen, sexually assaulted and murdered, lay in the Beatrice, Nebraska, apartment where she lived alone. Her relatives had paid a visit to her on the day of her death. They left her at the apartment that evening. The next day her sister found her at 9:30 AM the next morning.
The investigation team discovered semen on swabs collected from the victim’s body. Police discovered bloodstains on the victim’s clothing and bedding. They discovered three fingerprints in her house, including one on a knife and two on a door frame.
The initial investigation led to no arrest because blood tests failed to link with the suspects. Bruce Allen Smith, police check him off the list of the suspects for this reason.
Meet Debra Shelden, One Of The Beatrice Six
Burdette Searcey, a former investigator for Beatrice PD who was working as a farmer, launched his own investigation. He interviewed a number of former confidential informants who assisted him in identifying several people who frequented the area of Wilson’s apartment and the list included Debra Shelden. Others were Joseph White, Thomas Winslow, Ada Joann Taylor, Cliff Shelden, Mark Goodson, Beth Johnson, and Charlotte Bishop.
Burdette believed that the murder was the work of more than one person. His primary suspects were Joseph White, Ada Joann Taylor, and Thomas Winslow. Two years after Helen’s murder, Jerry DeWitt became sheriff of Gage County. After his appointment, he hired Burdette as a deputy sheriff.
Jerry and the Gage County attorney Richard Smith gave Burdette the permission to begin a formal investigation into the Wilson murder. Searcey held a woman named Lisa Podendorf as his prime witness. Lisa had claimed that at 7:30 a.m. on February 6—while police cars were parked at Wilson’s apartment—Taylor confessed to her that she and White had committed the crime.
She also commented that the night before the crime, she saw a car containing Taylor, Winslow, White, and Johnson parked near Wilson’s apartment.
Police made arrested Joseph and Ada Joann first on 15 March 1989.
Then they interviewed Debra for the first time on 24 March 1989. Burdette and Beatrice police Sergeant Ralph Stevens conducted the interview. According to the report prepared by Ralph, Debra shared that her husband told her that he received a letter from Taylor admitting Taylor’s involvement in the murder.
Ralph’s report said Debra Shelden said she did not read the letter and that the letter may have mentioned White. However, Searcey’s report of the interview quoted her as saying that she had read the letter and that it said Taylor and White committed the murder.
Cliff Shelden submitted a taped testimony on April 12, 1989, after three and a half hours of questioning, alleging that he got a letter from Taylor three to four months after the murder in which Taylor acknowledged involvement in the crime with Winslow and White. Cliff Shelden also stated that Winslow informed him about the Wilson assassination and that Taylor, White, Winslow, and Debra Shelden were present.
Searcey and another deputy interrogated Debra Shelden for the second time on April 13, 1989. She indicated she was there at the Wilson murder with Taylor, White, and Winslow in the recorded portion of her interview. She claimed she was observing the assault when White pushed her, knocking her unconscious and causing her to bleed.
Debra Shelden was arrested for murder shortly after the interview. On April 14, 1989, she was interviewed a third time and said Dean was also present at the Wilson murder.
On April 24, Debra Shelden pled guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree murder. She received a 10-year prison term. She served four and a half years in prison before being released again.
Does Beatrice Six Debra Shelden Appear On HBO’s Mind Over Murder?
HBO’s Mind Over Murder explored The story of “Beatrice Six” who were wrongfully convicted for the murder of Helen Wilson.
Where Is Beatrice Six Debra Shelden Today?
Appeals in the case were repeatedly denied by Nebraska courts, until late 2007, when White and Winslow finally obtained DNA testing on semen from the crime scene.
Prosecutors confirmed the results matched the profile of Bruce Allen Smith. The first major suspect immediately after the murder. But later-disgraced lab analyst Joyce Gilchrist tampered with the lab report that helped him to rule out a suspect. Authorities failed to prosecute Smith because he had died in Oklahoma in 1992.
On January 26, 2009, the state pardoned White’s five co-defendants and cleared their names entirely. They became known as the first six people exonerated by DNA evidence in Nebraska.
Debra didn’t accept the results of DNA tests in 2008 that indicated she didn’t involve in the crime. An attorney who worked on the case later said it was simpler for Debra to believe she was guilty because that would explain her time in prison. More crucially, how the others had spent time in prison as a result of her testimony.
Beatrice Six Debra Shelden Age
In 2022, Debra Shelden is 64 years old. Several sites noted that May 1958 marked the year of her birth.
Beatrice Six Debra Shelden Job Now
Since 2014, “Beatrice Six” Debra Shelden has stayed away from the public eyes. Her current job status remains unclear.
Is Beatrice Six Debra Shelden Married?
Yes, Beatrice Six Debra Shelden is a wife. Debra was reported to be homeless in 2014 while living in Lincoln, Nebraska, with her husband Cliff Shelden in a vehicle. She was still in Lincoln. That is, as far as we know, Debra Shelden’s last known location.
Is Beatrice Six Debra Shelden On Facebook?
We discovered a Facebook that goes by the same name and location on Facebook, but we couldn’t confirm if it actually belongs to Beatrice Six Debra Shelden or not.
Where Was Beatrice Six Debra Shelden Born?
Beatrice Six Debra Shelden was born in Beatrice, Nebraska.
How Much Money Did Beatrice Six Debra Shelden Recieve After Wrongful Conviction?
Debra Shelden reached an agreement for a $300,000 settlement with the state in 2014 with $50,000 paid immediately. Two years later, the jury awarded $1.8 million to Debra as a settlement.