Dead End for Barry Beach - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Dead End for Barry Beach

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After spending the last year and a half as a free man, convicted killer Barry Beach will be heading back to jail. The Montana Supreme Court issued the ruling late Tuesday afternoon in a 93-page document.

In a case with as many twists and turns as a winding Montana mountain pass, let's take a second to look at some of the key dates in this case before examining the Supreme Court's ruling. In 1979, officers found Kimberly Nees floating in a Poplar River.

In January of 1983 court documents say a young Barry Beach confessed to killing her, though the tapes recording that confession were later lost. One year later a jury convicted Beach of deliberate homicide and a judge sentenced him to serve 100 years without the possibility of parole.

Beach has appealed the decision several times, most recently in 2008 saying new witness testimony helped prove his innocence. That testimony was heard in a three-day hearing in 2011 when a district court judge ruled there was new evidence and Beach should get a new trial.

The state appealed and Tuesday Justice Jim Rice wrote in a 53-page decision that the district court judge who freed Beach listened to only the new evidence and did not consider the old evidence in his decision. Rice writes, "After reviewing all the evidence we conclude that Beach did not provide reliable evidence of his actual innocence." Justices Beth Baker, Laurie McKinnon, and District Judge Richard Simonton (who was sitting in place of Justice Mike McGrath) agreed.

Justice Brian Morris writes in a dissenting opinion that the District Court, not the Supreme Court, was in a better position to evaluate the new evidence and witness testimony. It appears the winding road that makes up this case has hit a dead end for Beach. Morris writes, "This ruling marks what likely will be the final chapter in the saga of Barry Beach."

We are told law enforcement will be asked to bring Beach back to jail.

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