Who Killed Kim? Part Nine: Unlikely Allies - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Who Killed Kim? Part Nine: Unlikely Allies

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POPLAR, Mont. -

She was there when young Kimberly Ann Nees was laid to rest on a June day in 1979.

She was there three and a half agonizing years later when Barry Beach was found guilty of murdering the class valedictorian and national honors student.

"Yeah, he did it."

And finally there was some comfort, some relief in the tiny town of Poplar.

A killer had been caught.

All the rumors finally hushed.

And the killer would kill no more, sentenced to 100 years behind bars with no chance of parole.

End of story.

Well, not hardly.

Fast forward to 2013.

"Barry Beach did not do it."

Quite an unlikely and shocking transformation for Glena Lockman.

Glena Nees Lockman.

Glena is Kim's cousin.

Both grew up in Poplar.

And she believed with all of her heart Beach was the one who savagely beat her cousin to death when he was convicted.

Now, she is fighting to free Beach from his prison cell.

Glena says her 180 degree turn occurred after new information was obtained by a group, Centurion Ministries that works to free people it believes have been wrongly convicted.

You've sort of been on an emotional roller coaster haven't you because one, nobody gets caught, two somebody confesses and goes to prison, three then you become doubtful about the person's guilt or innocence in prison, four you become aware of rumors that you have, to some degree, considered, so it's been kind of like this for you, has it not?

"Very much so, but like I said, over the years Centurion, I was with them pretty much almost every time they came to town, any questions I had they answered and it was like, wow, Barry beach did not murder my cousin."

So now you're left with a dead cousin, a wrongly convicted person in your mind and presumably a killer still on the loose.

Where's that leave you?

"Well, at this point in time that leaves me to do and help everyone in my power to get Barry Beach released."

I'll never be satisfied and I will never quit until justice is done."

Glena is not alone.

There are some very high profile supporters calling for Beach's release including U-S Senator Jon Tester, former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer, former U-S senator Conrad Burns and former Lt. Governor John Bohlinger.

So, who killed Kim Nees?

At the end of the day it will very likely turn out only the killer and Kim will know the truth and the rumors in Poplar will never be hushed.

Poplar resident Dun O'Connor is the one who says he got an early morning phone call telling him about Kim's murder hours before police knew anything about it.

He seems to best reflect the feelings of many, not all, but many people in Poplar when it comes to the question of who killed Kim?

"You've got to remember, the kid did sign a confession."

"Do I know that he did it, no."

"Do I know that these band of women did it, no.

"I know one damn thing, I got the phone call, I do know that."

"So, whether he's innocent or guilty, I think that should be proven, a little better than it was."

"More questions need to be asked, that's all I got to say."