Who Killed Kim? Part Four: Breaking The Case - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Who Killed Kim? Part Four: Breaking The Case

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POPLAR, Mont. -

In the tiny town of Poplar, Montana, the agony for friends and relatives of young Kim Nees was unbearable.

By 1983, almost four years had passed since she was laid to rest, the victim of a horrible beating.

A once sparkling life with so much promise taken away, her body dumped in the Poplar River. The death of the national honors graduate seemed to break the heart of this town.

And then there was the fear, because a killer was still on the loose.

Two of the suspects, who lived just doors down from Kim Nees along this quiet street, had apparently been cleared, including her boyfriend Greg Norgaard who lived in this house, and Barry Beach who lived just a few more houses away on the same side of the street.

There were lots of rumors, but no suspect, no one behind bars until a shocking development 1700 miles away in Monroe, Louisiana.

Turns out Beach, a classmate of Kim Nees, had left Poplar two weeks after she was killed to spend the summer with his father and stepmother in Louisiana.

When he returned to Poplar that fall, he was picked up for the first time by the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Department for questioning about Kim's murder.

Beach provided fingerprint evidence and submitted to a polygraph, which he passed.

The following June of 1980, Beach was questioned again. Again he was released, and again went to Louisiana.

But this time, in January of 1983, Beach found himself in the custody of Monroe, Louisiana authorities.

His step mom had called police following an argument with Beach, and told authorities Beach was trying to help her teenage daughter run away from home with her boyfriend and two other teenagers.

She also told them he had once been a suspect in the murder of a teenage girl in Poplar.

Turns out Louisiana authorities had three unsolved murders of their own, all women.

And just when Beach thought he was about to be released from custody on a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he instead found himself in a police interrogation room.

Beach says authorities there told him he'd fry in the state's electric chair if he didn't fess up to the three murders in their neck of the woods.

Beach tells KULR-8 News, "I was truly terrified of the Louisiana judicial system. I honestly and completely felt that they would execute me. I just wanted out of there, I just wanted out of there."

Beach had been in custody for days, and from a legal standpoint wasn't taken before a judge in the 72 hours required by law.

Beach's uncle says he was denied the right to bail him out on the misdemeanor charge.

Then, in that interrogation room, the conversation switched to Kim Nees.

Beach says he was asked to speculate about how the murder of Kim Nees might have taken place, and was asked to give a hypothetical story about the crime, using himself as the perpetrator.

He says he also heard the detectives say if he'd just confess to killing her, they'd help him prove his innocence in Montana.

So he did.

Thursday: What Beach told Louisiana authorities about why he killed Kim Nees, and how he did it.

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