Supreme Court sets hearing on convicted murderer Barry Beach's petition for new sentence


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BILLINGS, Montana — The Montana Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in February on a petition by convicted murderer Barry Beach to be resentenced in a 1979 killing he says he didn't commit.

Beach is serving 100 years in prison without parole in the beating death of Kimberly Nees near Poplar. He says the confession used to convict him was coerced.

Wednesday's order for oral arguments comes after Beach's attorneys said the fact that he was 17 at the time of the offense should factor into his sentence.

In 2011, a state judge granted Beach a new trial and ordered him released from prison. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling 18 months later.

Attorneys for the state say Beach was given unprecedented opportunity to argue his innocence and deserves no more.

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