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Montana man sentenced to 100 years for old killing awaits decision on clemency application

A Montana man convicted in the beating death of a high school classmate will learn whether he gets another shot at freedom after 30 years of protesting his innocence.

The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole decides Wednesday whether to accept 52-year-old Barry Beach's clemency application.

Chairman Mike McKee has said a hearing will be held if the application is accepted, followed by a recommendation to Gov. Steve Bullock.

Beach is serving a 100-year murder sentence for the 1979 slaying of Kim Nees in Poplar. Both were 17.

Beach was freed for 18 months when a judge ordered a new trial after hearing testimony that Nees may have been killed in an out-of-control fight among girls.

The Montana Supreme Court overturned that decision and he returned to prison last year.

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