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Attorneys: Barry Beach's life sentence was unconstitutional because he was 17 at time of crime

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GREAT FALLS, Montana — Attorneys for Barry Beach, who is serving 100 years without the possibility of parole for the 1979 beating death of a high school classmate, are asking the Montana Supreme Court to order him resentenced with consideration for the fact that he was 17 at the time of the offense.

The Great Falls Tribune reports (http://gftrib.com/12s3KA1 ) a petition filed Thursday argues Beach's sentence in the death of Kimberly Nees is the equivalent of a life sentence and is cruel and unusual.

A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling requires sentencing judges to take into consideration that children have diminished culpability for crimes and greater prospects for reform.

In the alternative to resentencing, Beach's attorneys ask that the parole restriction be removed, allowing the parole board to determine whether he should be released. Beach has maintained his innocence.


Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com

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