Beatrice is a small town in Nebraska. The region is dominated by livestock and farming. Industries such as a dairy plant, windmill, and metal manufacturers were long time employers but the backbone to the local economy was a state run institution for people diagnosed with profound and severe mental retardation now called the Nebraska State Developmental Center. Beatrice has long been regarded a pleasant and safe place to call home.then a man kept breaking into elderly women’s homes to rape them. Four times in six weeks but he had not been caught. Police did not know where this serial predator would strike again. There was a widow- Helen- who lived in the old telephone building . Her sister and brother in law- Ivan- lived across the hall. Then the brother in law went to check on Helen and found her dead. The winter scarf wrapped around Helen’s face had cut off her air supply. Helen became Beatrice’s first homicide victim og 1985. The town had lost a loving woman a subhuman man had desecrated helen’s body. Helen had been raped. The state police were called in to help with the murder. They found a rip in the carpet in Helen’s kitchen. There was also some hair on helen’s nightgown left by the killer. Bruce Allen Smith was on the list of murder suspects. Then peter Klismet was called in as he was a specially trained profiler and he had become the profiling coordinator covering Nebraska and Iowa. but Bruce was eliminated as a suspect by lab tech Joyce Gilchrist from blood testing. Then six arrest were made but why. Then all six were convicted of murder and sent to prison for Helen’s murder. These people were wrongly convicted. Some had been in prison for twenty years but now with DNA all six were proven to be innocent. This was the largest group proven innocent in the country's history. There was a former cop who wants to make a name for himself and he doesn’t care who he takes down as long as it made him big. Five of the six people were threatened with the electric chair and in fear confessed and took a plea deal. The one who went to trial was convicted but never quit fighting that he was innocent.
I read this book and was horrified at how these six people were coerced into confessing to a murder they didn’t commit from fear of death. Also the length of time these people were in prison is just sad. While the actual killer was still free. This was a well written book and showed some of the flaws in the justice system. This book was a little long and dragged at times but not enough I didn’t finish it. I didn’t even know this had happened in my lifetime.I recommend.