Attorney general asks court to dismiss latest claim by Beach

By Matt Gouras
Helena, Montana (AP) 3-08

Montana’s attorney general said that convicted murderer Barry Beach has had plenty of chances in court, and asked a judge to dismiss the latest claim of innocence.

The comments from the office of Attorney General Mike McGrath came in a 60-page court filing made to District Court in Wolf Point.

Beach is seeking a new trial based, in part, on testimony the state Board of Pardons and Parole called “double and triple hearsay,” when it last year rejected a petition for executive clemency.

Beach says testimony from others connects a group of girls to the 1979 killing of 17-year-old Kim Nees on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Beach was convicted of the crime based on a confession he gave to Louisiana authorities while jailed in that state in an unrelated crime. Beach, 45, is serving a 100-year prison term.

He has argued that the confession was coerced, and there is no other evidence that could convict him.

The attorney general said that Beach has exhausted appeals in many previous court hearings, and time has run out on him to seek a new trial. And the office said the claims are not procedurally allowed in Montana, in part because they could have been raised previously.

“The ‘new evidence’ that Beach presents of his innocence simply fails to show his actual innocence under the fundamental miscarriage of justice exception,” the court filings said. “This court should reject Beach’s call for an evidentiary hearing. In light of the fact that Beach’s petition is time-barred and procedurally barred, there is no need for this court to conduct an evidentiary hearing.