HELENA — Seven Montana Supreme Court justices will decide whether Barry Beach will get a new trial in a 1979 murder case without hearing oral arguments.
Justice Brian Morris issued an order Wednesday saying a panel of seven justices will decide the case based on briefs filed by Beach's attorneys and state prosecutors.
Under its rules, the court has 180 days from the date of the order to issue a decision.
Beach was convicted in 1983 of killing Kim Nees of Poplar. He was released from prison last November, after serving nearly 30 years, when District Judge E. Wayne Phillips ordered a new trial.
State prosecutors appealed and are seeking Beach's return to prison to serve out the remainder of his 100-year sentence.