Sunday, March 16, 2008

Montana: Rejection

On Friday, the Associated Press reported on 45-year old Barry Beach, who was convicted of the 1979 killing of a 17-year old girl on Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The conviction was obtained as a result of a confession he gave to Louisiana authorities while in jail for an unrelated crime. Beach is serving a 100-year prison term without the possiblity of parole, but now argues that the confession was "coerced." As he puts it, "I was so scared I would have said anything to get away from them. I was 20 years old. I just wanted to get out of that interrogation room.” Beach also insists that there is testimony from others that connects a group of girls to the murder. For example, Carl Fourstar testified (at Beach's clemency hearing) that a former co-worker confessed that she had gotten away with the murder. So, Beach is seeking a new trial based on testimony that the Board of Pardons and Parole calls "double and triple hearsay." This was the same body that rejected Beach's petition for executive clemency. See some background on the case here and here and here.

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