Former governor, prosecutor Racicot opposes Beach's clemency application


DEER LODGE, Mont. - A former Montana governor and state prosecutor opposes a clemency application for convicted killer Barry Beach.

Marc Racicot dropped off his letter to the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole after Tuesday's meeting on Beach's application for clemency.

Racicot was the prosecuting attorney who convinced a jury to convict Beach at trial in 1984, for the 1979 death of Poplar teen Kimberly Nees.

In his seven-page letter Racicot writes that there is no new evidence in the case that warrants clemency. He also cites Beach's unsuccessful application for clemency in 2007.

Racicot isn't the only one opposed to Beach's application. Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan spoke against it at Tuesday's meeting. In addition, the board says at least a dozen others wrote in opposition.

Nearly 60 people showed up in support of Beach at the Powell County Community Center in Deer Lodge. Many of them told the board Beach already proved he can succeed in 2011, after Fergus County District Court Judge E. Wayne Phillips granted Beach a new trial and freed him on bail. Beach was free for about 18-months before the state supreme court reversed his decision.

On the phone from the prison Wednesday, Beach said everyone is entitled to their own opinion of his case, but he is grateful for the support.

"It is what it is, because I'll never begrudge anybody their opinion of my situation. No matter what that opinion is," Beach said. "Whether it's pro or con I just hope that they'll make a decision soon so that my legal team and I can sit down and move forward."

The board has about a month to make a decision on the clemency application. If it is accepted Beach will get a clemency hearing. If it is denied, his sentence will stand.