In an unusual step, Governor Steve Bullock has sent a two-page letter to the state Board of Pardons and Parole, outlining why he thinks the board should recommend clemency for convicted murderer Barry Beach. The board is set to hear Beach's application for clemency April 29th. Beach has already served 30 years of a 100-year sentence for the 1979 murder of Poplar teen Kim Nees. He has long maintained his innocence, and was granted a new trial by a district judge in 2011. He was released from prison for 18 months pending the trial - then returned to prison when the state supreme court overturned the district judge's ruling.
In his letter to the Board of Pardons, Bullock cites the fact that Beach is not asking for exoneration but a commutation of his sentence. Bullock also says Beach committed the crime as a juvenile, has served over 30 years for the crime, and would continue to be under state supervision if released.
Bullock cannot commute Beach's sentence without the Board's recommendation.
[link to governor's letter:]