During the 19th Century, the counties in Nebraska had the authority to execute convicts. Twenty men were executed, and of these we can be certain that one, William Marion, was innocent. Early in the 20th century, the authority to execute prisoners was transferred to the state. The State of Nebraska executed 23 men during the 20th century, and there exists evidence that one of them, Robert Shumway, was innocent. Ironically, both of these cases originated in Gage County.
- William Marion: executed by Gage County in 1887. His “victim” was seen alive in 1891 and a posthumous pardon was granted in 1986.
- Mead Shumway: executed in 1909 for crushing the skull of a Gage County farmwoman. Three years after the execution, another man allegedly confessed on his deathbed to killing the woman. However, the only evidence NADP has for the confession is from an article in the 1919 issue of the Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology. Another twist to this case came when a member of Shumway’s jury committed suicide soon after the conviction. The Juror was reportedly desponded about going along with the rest of the jury and believed that Shumway was innocent.