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Supreme Court tells state to respond to Barry Beach's petition to revise sentence

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HELENA, Montana — The Montana Supreme Court has ordered the state to respond to convicted murderer Barry Beach's petition to revise his sentence.

Department of Justice attorneys have 30 days from Wednesday's order to answer the issues Beach raised.

The court is seeking a response to Beach's assertion his 100-year sentence is illegal because the trial court failed to consider that he was a minor at the time of Kim Nees' 1979 killing.

It also wants the state to respond to Beach's claim that the sentence is illegal because it leaves no meaningful opportunity for release.

Beach's clemency application was denied this year. He has maintained his innocence and argues the confession used to convict him in 1983 was coerced.

The Supreme Court last year overturned a judge's decision to grant Beach a new trial.

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