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Beach attorney asks court to reconsider ruling

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The attorney for convicted murderer Barry Beach is asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision that put Beach back in prison after 1 ½ years of freedom.

Attorney Terrance Toavs said in the petition for rehearing filed Tuesday that the Supreme Court originally ordered a 2011 hearing to determine the credibility of new evidence that Beach did not kill his 17-year-old classmate, Kim Nees, near Poplar in 1979.

But, Toavs says, the majority of justices in the recent 4-3 decision “discarded wholesale” District Judge E. Wayne Phillips’ findings from that hearing and instead applied a new standard of review in the case.

The ruling said Phillips gave too much weight to testimony offered by new witnesses who said Nees was killed in an out-of-control fight among girls.

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