Closing arguments expected this week in Montana clemency hearing


A three-member parole board in Montana heard last week from supporters of a man who says he didn’t commit the murder he was convicted of in 1984. Barry Beach says he was coerced to confess to the murder of a high school classmate. Beach’s attorneys, and investigators at Centurion Ministries who have worked on the case for seven years, say key parts of Beach’s confession don’t match crime scene evidence.

The parole board has the power to recommend that Beach be paroled or that the governor award executive clemency, clearing Beach’s name. The panel will hear closing arguments in the case this week.

Even Pam Nees, (the victim’s) older sister, appeared at the hearing to support Beach. However, the woman was not emotionally capable of testifying herself, according to her best friend, who read Nees' written statement to the three-member panel.

“I honestly believe that Barry did not kill my sister,” she said in the statement. “I feel Barry's pain and his family's pain, also. Finding the truth will set Barry free.”

Read the full story here

. (The Missoulian, 08/02/07)

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