State Takes Step to Revoke Barry Beach’s Probation

Beach was taken into custody for what was described as a "significant violation"

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press

BILLINGS — Montana authorities on Thursday said they were taking the first step toward revoking the probation of a convicted murderer who was granted clemency last year and then jailed this week for an unspecified felony violation.

Barry Beach is being held at the Yellowstone County jail for what authorities described as a “significant violation” of the terms of his release.

Details of the violation were not disclosed by authorities. But Beach’s mother, Bobbi Clincher, said Thursday that it was an alleged violation of a temporary protection order granted against him in October, after a woman filed a court petition claiming Beach had fathered her son and was stalking her.

Beach was arrested on Wednesday, the same day probation officers became aware of the violation, Montana Department of Corrections spokeswoman Judy Beck said.

Within 10 days of his arrest, the corrections agency plans to file a report on the violation with the Roosevelt County attorney “for the safety of the petitioner, her family and the community,” Beck said.

That’s a first step toward asking a court to revoke Beach’s probation, Beck said.

A judge would have the latitude to revoke his probation entirely, impose additional restrictions or take no action.

A hearing on making the temporary protection order permanent is scheduled for Monday before Justice of the Peace Pedro Hernandez.

Beach has said the woman’s four-year-old boy is his, and that the petition for a protection order was a response to his efforts to gain visitation rights.

“If he has to go back to prison just because he was trying to have a relationship with his son would be really sad,” Clincher said.

“For to be locked up all those years, not able to have children when he was younger, it was a nice surprise” to find out he had a son, she said.

In early October, Beach’s probation restrictions were increased after a woman alleged he propositioned her 12-year-old daughter in January.

Beach was convicted to 100 years in prison in the 1979 death of 17-year-old Kimberly Nees of Poplar in Roosevelt County.

Gov. Steve Bullock granted him clemency last November, noting that Beach was 17 at the time of Nees’s death and had been a model prisoner. Beach had long denied the crime.

In his clemency order, Bullock noted that three psychological reports concluded Beach posed a minimal risk to public safety. Bullock commuted his sentence to time served with an additional 10 years suspended, during which time Beach would remain under state supervision.

During his more than 30 years in prison, Beach’s cause was adopted by hundreds of supporters and attracted backing from numerous Montana politicians.

In 2011, he was released temporarily after a judge ordered a new trial in the murder case based on new evidence. The state Supreme Court reversed that order and sent Beach back to prison after 18 months of freedom.

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