Beach on Being Back in Prison - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Beach on Being Back in Prison

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DEER LODGE -

In 1984, a jury convicted Barry Beach of the 1979 death of Kimberly Nees in Poplar. Beach confessed to law enforcement, but has maintained his innocence for the last 30 years.

He spoke exclusively to ABC FOX MONTANA's Sarah Gravlee from prison Thursday.

December 7, 2011, is a day Beach said he will remember for the rest of his life. It was his stepfather's birthday, the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack and the day District Court Judge E. Wayne Phillips said there was enough new evidence to grant Beach a new trial.

"The courtroom just erupted," Beach said.

For the first time in nearly 30 years he walked free.

"I remember it going through my mind, 'They didn't cuff me. They didn't chain me,'" he said.

For the next year and a half Beach lived and worked in Billings. He's gone fly fishing, boating, water skiing, and downhill skiing.

"Life if like ice cream. There's 64 flavors and you gotta try them all," he said. "You don't know what flavor of ice cream it is until you've tried it."

He said his experiences in the last year and a half made it even harder for him to return to prison.

"Oh, I will get out again," Beach said. "My true home is on the streets. I don't belong where I'm sitting right now. I've never belonged where I'm sitting right now."

On May 14th the Montana Supreme Court reversed Phillips' ruling, sending Beach back to prison. While he said some people offered to whisk him away to a foreign nation, he turned them down and turned himself in to local law enforcement.

"If I'm nothing else, and you don't know anything else about me, I'm a man of my word. I had given my word to supporters I would turn myself in," he said. "That was my word. That was my promise. I will always keep my word. If I have to spend the rest of my life in prison, when I die I'll always have that integrity."

On his was back to Deer Lodge, Beach said he laid his head back and closed his eyes. He said it wasn't until the vehicle he was in hit a cattle guard on the way off of I-90 that it really sunk in.

"I hit the cattle guard and I knew where I was and I opened my eyes and it was just so sickening," he said. "I just couldn't believe it was real. It was happening."

Beach said he doesn't lose hope because he knows the Supreme Court is wrong.

So what's next for Barry Beach and what about that confession he gave more than 30 years ago? Stay tuned to the FOX MONTANA NEWS @ NINE and the ABC MONTANA NEWS at 5:30 for those stories next week.

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