On 5 February 1985, a 68-year-old woman Helen Wilson died after being assaulted and killed in Beatrice, Nebraska, an apartment where she lived alone. A former investigator for the Beatrice police department, Burdette Searcey started his independent investigation before he was hired by Jerry DeWitt, a newly appointed sheriff of Gage County, as a deputy sheriff.
Burdette interviewed several informants who gave away names such as Joseph White, Thomas Winslow, Ada Joann Taylor, Cliff Shelden, Mark Goodson, Beth Johnson, Debra Shelden, and Charlotte Bishop as the ones who frequented Helen’s place. In the initial investigation, investigators obtained semen from the victim’s body and three fingerprints in her house, including one on a knife and two on a door frame.
So, Burdette believed that this heinous crime is not a possibility for one person. He also had a witness named Lisa Podendorf who claimed that she saw Ada JoAnn Taylor, Thomas Winslow, Joseph White, and Charlotte Johnson parked near Wilson’s apartment.
Meet James Dean, One Of The Beatrice Six
James Dean found himself dragged into the case after Cliff Shelden mentioned his alleged involvement. However, the transcript of his interview had no mention of Jame’s name. When Burdette interrogated Debra for the third time on 14 April 1989, she mentioned James’s presence at Helen’s murder.
On 15 April 1989, Burdette arrested James for the murder. It was his 25th birthday and he and a team of construction workers had just finished demolishing houses in Lincoln, fifty miles from Beatrice. Gage County jail had booked him. A guard reported seeing James “pacing, crying, talking to himself,” waving his arms. According to the guard James said, “I’ve been arrested on something I know nothing about”.
He denied any knowledge of the crime and his blood type was O—different from the blood found at the crime scene. He then asked for a lawyer. But the deputies kept on questioning him anyway and without letting him hire a lawyer.
Day after that, Burdette, Jerry, and Deputy Smith interviewed James for more than two hours. They rebuffed James’s request for a lawyer, again. On 17 April interrogation which lasted for more than three hours, the sheriff’s department told James that Taylor, Debra Shelden, and Kathleen Gonzalez, who lived in the same apartment building brought up his name in the case.
The sheriff’s department let James appoint a defense lawyer after they arraigned him on the same day. He later revealed that if he did not cooperate, he would get the electric chair.
On May 2, 1989, James met with Deputy Wayne Price, who was also the Gage County Sheriff’s Office psychologist in addition to being a deputy sheriff. During this encounter, James denied his involvement once more. However, James began to doubt himself after taking a polygraph examination. Price told Dean that he was aware of his role in the Wilson murder on a subconscious level, and that “continuing supportive therapy” would help him retrieve his suppressed memories.
To extract more from James, authorities took James to Wilson’s apartment. They also showed him the photographs and videos from the crime scene.
On May 8, 1989, James delivered a recorded statement claiming that he, Taylor, Winslow, White, and Debra Shelden were all present at the Wilson homicide. He couldn’t remember why they went to Helen’s place, and he had no recollection of anyone hurting her.
James stated that he did not recall seeing anyone else, but that it was possible that others were present. Asked why he was admitting involvement, Dean said, “Well, I feel that I remembered it in my sleep. I obviously had some kind of a subconscious block or something I don’t know what it was for sure and I couldn’t remember and I thought I was telling the truth naturally and I said I was not there”.
James’s statement evolved two days later when he admitted that the suspects involved in the crime violently mistreated Helen. He added, “I can’t remember, you know like I said, I got this all [in] a dream, you know, and I’m just telling you bits and pieces of what I can tell you like you guys wanted to know, you know.”
On 17 May 1989, James confessed to witnessing Taylor, Winslow, and White sexually assaulting Helen. He also added seeing another person in the doorway of the apartment. He gave a physical description, he could not remember the gender or name of that person. That same day, Dean pled guilty to amended information charging him with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
On 24 May 1989, James added remembering Kathy Gonzalez in the apartment. Likewise, on 7 June 1989, he mentioned someone hearing a robbery and Kathy appearing in the hall in front of their group. With every new interview, James added new information.
Does Beatrice Six James Dean Appear On HBO’s Mind Over Murder?
Yes, James Dean appears on Mind Over Murder. Meanwhile, actor Pinkhas Nisanov re-enacts his role on HBO’s Mind Over Murder.
Where Is Beatrice Six James Dean Today?
In 1990, the jury convicted Beatrice Six James Dean and gave him 10 years in prison along with Debra and Kathy.
While in prison, James reportedly wrote forty-three notes to the sheriff’s staff that concluded with the phrase “please thank you.” “Thanks for all the good meals,” he wrote the sheriff and his wife. A compulsion to become helpful reportedly consumed James at the time.
In the fall of 1994, authorities released James. Joseph and Thomas demanded DNA testing of the assailants’ blood and sperm. The court granted it to them in the summer of 2008. Additional DNA tests on new evidence backed up the original batch of results, ruling out all six accused.
On January 26, 2009, Nebraska’s State Board of Pardons unanimously granted the other five a pardon based on their true innocence.
“We were all scared of it. They were all threatening us with it,” said James said after being pardoned.
Beatrice Six James Dean Age
Reportedly being born in April 1964, 2022 marked the year when James Dean turned 58-year-old.
Beatrice Six James Dean Job
According to Linkedin, James Dean worked as a truck driver in Salinas, Kansas.
Is Beatrice Six James Dean Married?
At the time of the court proceeding, James Dean reportedly engaged to Lydia Buckley. Whether they married is a mystery because they stayed away from the spotlight.
Where Was Beatrice Six James Dean Born?
Beatrice Six James Dean was born in Abilene, Kansas.
Is Beatrice Six James Dean On Facebook?
No, Beatrice Six James Dean is not on Facebook.
How Much Money Did Beatrice Six James Dean Recieve For Wrongful Conviction?
As a settlement, Gage county offered $2,190,000 to James Dean for wrongful conviction in July 2016 and spending 5 years in prison. He also received $300,000 from the State of Nebraska on 20 September 2012 before that.