Governor Steve Bullock on Friday issued an executive order commuting the criminal sentence of Barry Beach.
The order directs Beach’s sentence to time served, with an additional 10 years suspended.
Beach was convicted and sentenced in 1984 to 100 years without parole for the 1979 murder of Kimberly Nees of Poplar.
Beach maintained he was innocent of the crime, claiming that police in Louisiana coerced him to confess to the murder.
Bullock's clemency order notes the following:
- Life without parole forecloses the possibility of rehabilitation, and is an "especially harsh punishment for a juvenile, because he will almost inevitably serve more years and a greater percentage of his life in prison than an adult offender."
- In his 18 months of living and working in Billings, Mr. Beach demonstrated that he is capable of living a productive life and respecting society's rules.
- Three psychological reports have been completed regarding Mr. Beach, and these reports conclude that he poses minimal risk to public safety and is likely to successfully transition back into society.