The sons of Maynard Helgeland, who traveled to Lincoln in memory of their father on Tuesday when the state executed his killer, left shortly after to return to their homes in South Dakota.

“It’s over,” Steve Helgeland said. “Let’s let everyone rest in peace.”

Carey Dean Moore, 60, died at 10:47 a.m. Tuesday, the first death row inmate executed in Nebraska in 21 years.

He was convicted of the 1979 fatal shooting and robbery of Reuel Van Ness Jr. and Helgeland. Both were cab drivers who picked up Moore.

Steve Helgeland is the youngest of Maynard’s three children, and was 13 and living in Wisconsin with his mom when his father was killed.

The oldest son, Kenny Helgeland, was living with his dad in Omaha and drove cabs with him. Had he not gotten an invitation to the horse races in Lincoln on Aug. 22, 1979, he’d have been in the car with his dad.

Kenny Helgeland had planned to witness the execution but changed his mind because of the possibility of being in the same room as the Moore family members. The Helgelands were in the prison during the execution, however.

Helgeland's daughter, Lori Helgeland-Renken, chose not to come to Lincoln from her home in South Dakota.

She said while she’s relieved that Moore — and her dad’s murder — won’t keep being revisited in the news because of legal appeals, that’s about the only difference the execution makes.

“It doesn’t really change anything,” she said. “Nothing’s changed for me and I just pray for his family, too. They must be heartbroken.”

When asked about Moore’s final statement, which was published by news outlets, she said she felt bad he did not apologize or show any remorse for the murders of her father and Van Ness.

Tom Rinabarger, one of Van Ness’s 10 children and step-children, worked construction Tuesday morning in Omaha.

“I just try to work and keep my mind off of things,” he said.

His sister called him when the execution was over and said “10:47 a.m.”

Rinabarger said Moore’s execution brings some relief but doesn’t really change anything.

“Is there closure? There will never be closure, not as far as I’m concerned.”

Every year, Aug. 22 reminds him of what happened, he said, and now so will Aug. 14.

“Another anniversary,” he said.

Profiles of death-row inmates' victims

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist.


Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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