This just in from the Associated Press:
LEWISTOWN, Mont. (AP) — A district judge has released convicted murderer Barry Beach on his own recognizance while he awaits a new trial in the 1979 death of Kim Nees on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Beach has been in prison for 29 years.
District Judge E. Wayne Phillips made the ruling Wednesday afternoon after a hearing in Lewistown.
Phillips on Nov. 23 ordered a new trial for Beach. He said there was enough evidence to raise doubts about Beach’s guilt after a court hearing last summer in which witnesses linked Nees’ death to an out-of-control fight among teenage girls.
And, from the Attorney General’s Office:
“We have an obligation to defend a murder conviction rendered by a Montana jury against a man who confessed to the most serious of crimes,” said Brant Light, chief of the Prosecution Services Bureau and a prosecutor representing the state in the case. “This is one more step in a lengthy legal process and the final word has not been spoken.”