A federal judge has ruled that two men wrongly accused in a 2006 double murder in Cass County can proceed with a civil lawsuit against law enforcement officials.
That clears the way for a jury trial next month.
Nicholas Sampson and his cousin, Matthew Livers, were jailed for months following the murders of Sharmon and Wayne Stock of Murdock, Neb.
After the real killers were tried and convicted, Sampson and Livers sued officials in Douglas and Cass Counties and the Nebraska State Patrol on grounds that evidence was fabricated, Livers’ confessions coerced and key information withheld from defense attorneys.
Douglas County CSI Director David Kofoed later was convicted of planting blood evidence in Sampson’s car. Douglas County agreed to pay Livers $50,000 and Sampson $75,000 in separate settlements this year.
Friday, U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon rejected requests by the remaining defendents — Nebraska State Patrol investigators William Lambert and Charles O’Callaghan, and former Cass County Sheriff’s detective Earl Schenck and Deputy Sheriff Sandra Weyer — to toss the case.
The trial begins Oct. 21.
Deb Collins, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska State Patrol, declined to comment, as did lawyers for Sampson and Livers. Cass County Sheriff Bill Brueggemann didn’t return a message for comment.
The federal judge's ruling: