Innocence Blog

Dateline NBC Episode Turns Up New Witnesses in False Confession Case

Posted: June 11, 2012 4:00 pm

New witnesses have come forward to support Barry Beach’s claim of innocence since Dateline NBC aired an episode about his case four years ago. Beach, of Montana, claimed that he falsely confessed to the 1979 murder of 17-year-old Kim Nees. 


After a three day interrogation, Beach confessed to the murder. He was convicted in 1984 and sentenced to 100 years behind bars. However, he has always maintained his innocence and claimed that the confession was coerced.  

On Sunday night, Dateline revisited Beach’s case in ‘Whispers in a Small Town.’ Beach’s attorneys at Centurion Ministries maintain that key parts of his confession don’t match crime scene evidence. They believe a group of female high school students committed the crime. After the original Dateline episode aired in 2008, family members and colleagues of the former students came forward with details the women had shared about the murder. Their testimony was heard in 2010. 


Based on the new evidence, a Montana District Court judge released Beach and ordered a new trial. Since his release, Beach started his own handyman business and works for a local construction company. Prosecutors have appealed, and Beach may still be re-tried pending a decision from the Montana Supreme Court. 


Read more about 'Whispers in a Small Town'.