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Barry Beach timeline of key events

Barry Beach timeline of key events

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Here is a timeline of coverage of Kim Nees' murder, Barry Beach's trial and his attempts to appeal his 1984 sentence.

June 16, 1979: Kimberly Nees' body is found near the Poplar River by Fort Peck tribal officers.

June 17, 1979: The body of 18-year-old Kimberly Nees of Poplar was discovered in the Poplar River on the southwest edge of the city, and authorities said she apparently had been beaten to death.

Feb. 25, 1981: Kimberly Nees' great uncle, state Sen. Stanley Nees, is found shot to death in the basement apartment of his house in Poplar, along with Leota Hoye and Mildred Geer.

March 1, 1981: When Stanley Nees, 77, and two women were shot to death in his house in Poplar, a Billings family was thrust into a replay of a nightmare they'd been through less than two years before.

Jan. 4, 1983: Barry Beach is arrested in Monroe, Louisiana, for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Investigators soon learn of the unsolved murder of Nees in Poplar, Beach's hometown. Detectives also question Beach about the deaths of three young women in Monroe.

Jan. 7, 1983: After hours of questioning, Beach confesses to Nees' murder. He is later cleared as a suspect in the Monroe slayings.

Jan. 9, 1983: Beach, 20, formerly of Poplar but now a resident of Monroe, was taken into custody in connection with the 1979 murder of Kimberly Nees of Poplar.

Jan. 23, 1983: Beach told Louisiana police that he beat Kimberly Nees to death near Poplar in 1979 because she resisted his sexual advances, officials said.

Feb. 24, 1984: Beach files a motion to suppress his confession. After a hearing at which the Louisiana officers testify, a judge denies the motion. The judge says he does not believe that Beach was threatened and that "the voluntariness of the statements was obvious."

July 8, 1983: District Judge James Sorte thinks a recent decision of his not to dismiss murder charges against Beach might make a good test case before the Montana Supreme Court.

Sept. 10, 1983: Beach pleaded not guilty to the charges at his initial appearance in Roosevelt County District Court.

April 8, 1984: The Montana Supreme Court refused to stop the trial of Beach.

April 10, 1984: A jury of 10 women and two men was selected in the murder trial of Beach of Wolf Point.

April 11, 1984: Details of the brutal bludgeoning death of Kimberly Nees were revealed in Glasgow as the deliberate-homicide trial of Beach entered its first day of testimony.

April 12, 1984: Murder trial defendant Beach admitted and later denied involvement in the murders of three Louisiana women before he was brought back to Montana.

April 12, 1984: A Louisiana attorney for Beach told law-enforcement officials the year before that his client may have a second personality that was responsible for the murders of three Louisiana women and Kimberly Nees of Poplar, a lawman says.

April 14, 1984: Beach was found guilty of deliberate homicide for the brutal 1979 beating death of Kimberly Nees.

May 12, 1984: Convicted murderer Beach was sentenced to serve 100 years in the State Prison without the possibility of parole.

July 26, 1985: The deliberate homicide conviction and 100-year sentence given Beach was upheld by the Montana Supreme Court.

Oct. 30, 1995: Beach filed for post-conviction relief with the Montana Supreme Court, which ruled against him because he did not raise the issues within five years of his conviction, as required. The court says Beach could not raise new issues not included in his first appeal, including that his confession was false.

Feb. 9, 1996: The murder conviction of a man serving 100 years in prison for the beating death of a Poplar girl in 1979 will not be overturned, the Montana Supreme Court decided.

Aug. 6, 1997: U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Anderson recommends dismissal of Beach's petition, finding against Beach's claim that his confession was false. Anderson also found there was no evidence that Beach was "actually innocent" of the murder.

Nov. 30, 2005: The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole denies Beach's written application for clemency.

Aug. 26, 2006: A New Jersey innocence group asked Gov. Brian Schweitzer to free Beach for a murder they say the man didn't commit.

March 26, 2007: The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole says it will meet June 13 to take testimony in the case of a Poplar man who says he is wrongly imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit.

Jun 14, 2007: Beach testified at his own clemency hearing, adamantly denying any part in the 1979 killing of a Poplar girl that landed him a 100-year prison sentence.

Jun 14, 2007: Former Gov. Marc Racicot challenged advocates for convicted murderer Beach, saying that they are carefully nitpicking 20-year-old testimony with the support of "conspiracy buffs or those that want to ignore the facts."

Aug. 23, 2007: The state Board of Pardons and Parole rejected convicted murderer Barry Beach's claim of innocence and his request to be set free.

March 31, 2008: A District Court judge in Wolf Point denied Beach's request for a new trial in a 1979 murder, saying the evidence he offered failed to prove his innocence.

Nov. 24, 2009: A Poplar man sentenced to 100 years in prison without the possibility of parole for a 1979 murder will get another hearing in his effort to prove he is innocent.

Jul 31, 2011: A man convicted in the 1979 beating death of a Poplar teen based largely on his own confession has advanced his claims of innocence to a new hearing this week in Lewistown, hoping to ultimately convince a judge that he deserves a new trial.

Aug. 1, 2011: In a court hearing beginning the next day to determine whether Beach should get a new trial in the 1979 murder of a Poplar teenager, a Poplar woman testified that a relative implicated herself in the beating death during a phone call years later.

Aug. 2, 2011: Wolf Point resident Steffie Eagleboy was a 10-year-old girl hanging out with her 11-year-old cousin on a rock near their Poplar-area home late one night in 1979 when they heard girls fighting, she testified during an evidentiary hearing to determine whether convicted killer Beach will get a new murder trial.

Nov. 23, 2011: Convicted murderer Beach is granted a new trial.

Dec. 7, 2011: One month shy of spending 29 years behind bars for murder, Barry Beach was released  pending a new trial in the killing of a 17-year-old Poplar girl.

Feb. 23, 2012: Prosecutors asked the Montana Supreme Court to reinstate Beach's conviction for the 1979 killing of a 17-year-old girl on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

May 14, 2013: In a 4-3 decision, the Montana Supreme Court overturned a lower-court ruling that had granted a new trial for convicted murderer Beach. The ruling is likely to send him back to the Montana State Prison.

May 15, 2013: After 18 months of freedom, convicted murderer Beach returned to Montana State Prison to finish serving a 100-year sentence after turning himself in at the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office.

May 30, 2013: The attorney for Beach is asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to put the man convicted of murdering his classmate in 1979 back in prison after 1 1/2 years of freedom.

June 21, 2013: The Montana Supreme Court rejected a request from Beach to reconsider its decision to send him back to prison for the 1979 murder of a classmate after he spent 1 1/2 years as a free man awaiting a new trial.

Sept. 12, 2013: An attorney for a Montana State Prison inmate who is serving a 100-year sentence without the possibility of parole for a murder he says he didn’t commit is asking the state parole board to recommend he receive a parole hearing.

Sept. 13, 2013: Gov. Steve Bullock says it would be inappropriate for him to offer an opinion on Beach's request to be set free before the process plays out.

April 23, 2014: Bullock took the unusual step of writing a letter supporting parole for convicted murderer Beach, telling the Board of Pardons and Parole it should focus not on whether Beach is guilty or innocent, but whether he’s a good candidate for parole.

April 29, 2014: Montana's parole board has the chance to correct a mistake made when Beach was sentenced to 100 years in prison without parole in the 1979 beating death of a high school classmate, his attorneys said.

June 11, 2014: Montana’s parole board denied a clemency bid from Beach, who said he will keep fighting to overturn his 100-year murder sentence for the 1979 beating death of a high school-classmate.

Sept. 3, 2014: A legislative panel endorsed bills to revise state Parole Board authority and procedures, including one to give the governor wider power to grant clemency to convicted felons.

Oct. 24, 2014: Attorneys for Beach, ask the Montana Supreme Court to order him resentenced with consideration for the fact that he was 17 at the time of the offense.

Dec. 2, 2014: Beach has been given unprecedented opportunity to argue his innocence and for a reduced sentence and deserves no more, the state said in a filing with the Montana Supreme Court.

May 5, 2015: The Montana Supreme Court rejected a re-sentencing request for Beach.

Oct. 8, 2015: Beach filed a new clemency request now when changed to give the final decision to the governor instead of the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole.

Oct. 29, 2015: The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole sent Bullock a clemency request by Beach.

Nov. 20, 2015: Beach, who spent three decades behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit, walked out of prison after the governor granted his clemency request.

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