Court News

May 14, 2013 9:30 PM by MTN News

MT Supreme Court reverses Beach trial decision

HELENA - A split decision by the Montana Supreme Court is expected to send Barry Beach back to jail without a new trial.

The 4-3 decision, released late Tuesday afternoon, found that a District Court made a mistake in December 2011 when it ordered a new trial.

The mistake included listening to the new evidence and failing to closely consider the old evidence.

State prosecutors are expecting Beach to return to prison to serve out the remainder of his 100 year sentence.

Beach was convicted in 1983 of killing Kim Nees in Poplar in the spring of 1979.

He served 29 years in the Montana State Prison before being released in December 2011.

In its published opinion, the Montana Supreme Court stated:

Applying the proper standard of review to the new evidence offered by Beach, we determine he has failed to sustain his burden of demonstrating either a freestanding claim or a gateway claim of "actual innocence." The District Court's order is reversed. Beach's petition for postconviction relief is denied and dismissed.

Click here to read the complete court document (PDF).

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