HELENA, Mont. -

Barry Beach says he's shocked to hear about Gov. Steve Bullock's letter asking the state parole board to consider commuting his sentence for the 1979 beating death of a Poplar classmate.
Beach tells Lee Newspapers of Montana he applauded the governor's courage to write the letter, especially since Bullock filed an appeal as attorney general to send him back to prison.
Beach was free for 18 months after a district judge ordered a new trial in the slaying of 17-year-old Kim Nees. The Montana Supreme Court overturned that ruling and sent Beach back to prison to serve his 100-year term.
Beach denies killing Nees.
The Montana State Board of Pardons and Parole will review Beach's application on Tuesday to commute his sentence so he can be considered for parole.