One of the Beatrice Six, Joseph White, links to the murder of Helen Wilson, 68. Helen lay in her Beatrice, Nebraska, apartment on February 6, 1985, having been sexually raped and murdered. On the day of her death, her relatives paid her a visit. That evening, they left her at her flat. Her sister discovered her the next morning at 9:30 a.m.
The investigative team extracted semen on swabs taken from the victim’s body. Moreover, the victim’s clothing and bedding also contained bloodstains. Investigators also detected three fingerprints in Helen’s home, one on a knife and two on a door frame.
Blood testing failed to link the suspected individuals to the initial inquiry, they failed to make arrests. For this reason, authorities remove Bruce Allen Smith from the suspect list.
Meet Joseph White, 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 Joseph White. Others were Debra Shelden, 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, Ada Joann, and Thomas. 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 Joseph had committed the crime.
Lia also commented that the night before the crime, she saw a car containing Ada Joann, Thomas, Joseph, and Beth parked near Wilson’s apartment. Police arrested Joseph, Thomas, and Ada Joann first on 15 March 1989 after Burdette Searcey finalized the arrest warrant. However, Joseph denied his involvement in or knowledge of the crime.
Thomas who was interrogated in 1985 by Burdette before the formal investigation confessed that he was at work on the night of the crime, but Searcey had determined that was false. On 13 February 1989, Thomas admitted he had lied about his whereabouts and claimed he had loaned his car to Ada Joann, Joseph, and Cliff Shelden on the night of the crime.
Thomas later claimed that on the night of February 5, 1985, while driving his car around Beatrice with Ada Joaan and Joseph, he heard they discuss robbing an older woman. Ada and Joseph reportedly dropped him off at Bishop’s apartment and returned his car the following morning.
Initially denying his involvement in the crime, Thomas told Burdette that he, Ada, Joseph, and Beth went to Wilson’s apartment. He added that Ada and Joseph attacked Wilson and that he panicked and left with Beth.
When Burdette interrogated Ada Joann on 16 March 1989, she claimed Joseph was her father who was only a year older. She named a man named “Lobo” an alias for Joseph, who allegedly committed the murder. Furthermore, she also added that Joseph performed a trick with money that he ripped in half (a torn half of a $5 bill had been found at the scene) and that there was an additional person named “Beth” present during the murder.
Burdette again interrogated Thomas who shared this time that Ada and Joseph arrived at his apartment with blood on their clothes.
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 Ada acknowledged involvement in the crime with Thomas and Joseph. He also stated that Winslow informed him about the Wilson murder and that Ada, Joseph, Thomas, and Debra Shelden were present.
Cliff also confessed James Dean’s involvement in the murder. Dean denied any involvement. Dean admitted his presence at Wilson homicide along with Taylor, Winslow, White, and Debra Shelden. On 17 May 1989 Dean revealed that he witnessed Ada, Thomas, and Joseph sexually assaulting Helen.
Dean kept on revealing new information with each additional interrogation.
On 16 July 1989, Dean shared that he saw Joseph carrying a stack of money in his hand, and heard him tear a five-dollar bill in half.
When Burdette questioned Debra Shelden, she admitted to witnessing the murder while Joseph pushed her causing her to hit her head and begin bleeding.
On 9 November 1989, a Jury convicted Joseph of first-degree murder after Ada, James, and Debra Shelden testified and implicated him in the crime. Kathy Gonzalez another suspect also accused Joseph of raising the idea of committing a burglary with her. Joseph received a sentence to life in prison.
Appeals in the case were repeatedly denied by Nebraska courts, until late 2007, when Joseph and Thomas finally obtained DNA testing on semen from the crime scene.
Based on the forensic results, Joseph filed a motion to vacate his conviction. On October 15, 2008, the state vacated Joseph’s conviction and released him. State also dismissed all the charges against Joseph on the same day. He served more than 18 years in prison.
Beatrice Six Joseph White Cause Of Death
As reported Beatrice Six Joseph White died in a construction accident in Alabama in 2011. The cause was reportedly getting “crushed to death by an overhead crane that killed him via blunt force trauma ” where he worked a shift at a coal refinery in Tarrant.
Beatrice Six Joseph White Age At The Time Of His Death
Reportedly born in the year 1962, Joseph White died at the age of 48.
Did Beatrice Six Joseph White Leave Behind A Family?
Beatrice Six Joseph White was born to his parents Lois Powell White and Carroll White.
In 2019, his mother spoke to Lincoln Journal Star following the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision. She said, “My main objective in all of it was to see that his name was cleared and that the folks that put him through all that was held up to the light for the world to see”.
At the time of his death, Joseph planned to marry his former high school girlfriend Paige Latham. They reconnected after Joseph’s incarceration. Before his tragic death, not long before he received a promotion at work and also purchased a new car for the first time ever.
Lois also shared that Joseph was the “happiest he had been in his whole life”.
Joseph also had a son named Brandon Poteet. His brother Jeffery White died before him. Whereas, his brother Jason (Lisa) White; sisters Evelyn (Billy) Cox, Nancy (Joey) Aspinwall, and Margaret White survived him.
How Much Money Was Beatrice Six Joseph White Awarded After The Wrongful Conviction?
The state of Nebraska decided to compensate Joseph White with $500,000 in damages. Prior to his death, he received $25,000, and his estate received $475,000. A jury awarded his estate an additional $7.3 million in July 2016, a result that the county unsuccessfully challenged the United States Supreme Court in 2019.
Where Was Beatrice Six Joseph White Born?
Beatrice Six Joseph White was born in Cullman, Alabama.
Is There An Beatrice Six Joseph White Obituary?
Yes, there is. Click the link to find Beatrice Six Joseph White’s obituary.