Barry Beach Denied Clemency - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Barry Beach Denied Clemency

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HELENA - It was an answer Barry Beach says he suspected would come, but it was still a devastating blow. Beach is currently serving a 100-year sentence for the murder of Kim Nees.

Today, that conviction was upheld. The State of Montana Board of Pardons and Parole announced their unanimous decision to deny Beach's fourth request for clemency today at a press conference in Deer Lodge.

Chairman of the Board of Pardons and Parole Mike McKee says they found no new credible evidence had come to light since Beach's last application in 2007. The board made its decision despite receiving some 500 letters of support of Beach's clemency, including one from Governor Steve Bullock. But, McKee says that support does not outweigh the continued opposition from the victim's family and friends.

"What's popular, is not always right, and we have of people who are long on opinion, and short on facts," said McKee. Members of the board also say Beach's responsible and law-abiding behavior during his 18 months of freedom don't constitute as "exemplary" behavior, as all Montana citizens are expected to obey the law.   And, McKee says the board does not believe that serving 30 years in prison is not an "extraordinary" amount of time for the conviction of a brutal murder of a teenage girl. McKee says one key factor indicating beach's ability to change was missing. "The very first and the most basic premise is accepting responsibility and accountability for the crime that was committed," and that's something Beach says he will never do, because he did not commit the crime.

"I did not kill Kim Nees. I wasn't present when she was murdered. I had nothing to do with it afterwards."

Governor Steve Bullock released a statement on the Board of Pardons and Parole decision in the matter of Barry Beach saying, "I'm disappointed with the board's decision. Since Mr. Beach committed his crime as a juvenile, served over 30 years and conducted himself appropriately both inside and outside of prison, I believe there's a strong argument for him to remain under state supervision as a parolee."

Attorney General Tim Fox also released a statement, "In denying Barry Beach's fourth application for clemency, the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole made a thorough, thoughtful, and correct decision. Prior state Attorneys General, the Montana Supreme Court, and four separate decisions from the board have all concluded that Beach is guilty and should remain in prison to serve the rest of his sentence. This unanimous decision reaffirms the fairness and effectiveness of Montana's justice system. Thirty-five years after the murder of Kim Nees, Montana's law enforcement community hopes this matter can now be finally laid to rest, and that Kim Nees' family can heal, find peace, and move on."
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