970 Years: Imprisoned for Crimes They Did Not Commit
Centurion Ministries, Inc. (CM) was founded in 1983 in Princeton, New Jersey as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation by Jim McCloskey. Recognized in North America as the pioneer in this field, CM has successfully reinvestigated and freed scores of factually innocent people within the U.S. and Canada.
CM is the only entity whose focus is nationwide and Canada. We take advantage of DNA and other forensic testing to prove innocence when we can; however most wrongful convictions do not have evidence that can be scientifically tested to prove innocence. Therefore, the bulk of our case work is non-DNA and requires “in-the-field” investigation of wrongful convictions that have taken place throughout the nation.
At any given time CM has a case load of approximately 20 active cases, all in different stages of development.
In achieving the objectives of our work at no cost to those whom we serve, CM conducts an exhaustive reinvestigation of each case with the goal of developing new evidence sufficient to overturn the conviction. We also retain and work closely with the very best attorneys and forensic experts who ably assist us in obtaining judicial relief for our beneficiaries. CM bears all expenses necessary for the successful completion of our mission.
On December 7, 2011, after 29 years of false imprisonment, Barry Beach was released on his own recognizance. Beach was convicted in 1984 for the 1979 murder of Kim Nees that occurred in Poplar, Montana on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. This comes on the heels of Judge E. Wayne Phillips having granted Mr. Beach a new trial based on overwhelming new evidence of his innocence and the incriminating evidence identifying four other women as the killers.
In describing the testimony given by the witnesses at an August 2011 evidentiary hearing which spurred the Judge’s decision to grant a new trial as well as the release, the judge declared the testimony of these witnesses, individually and collectively, to be extremely believable; and “although not scientific like DNA, it is nevertheless, more than sufficient objective credibility” to allow Mr. Beach to “pass through the actual innocence gateway.”
CM took on the Beach case in 2000. Joining Centurion Ministries in the mission to vindicate Mr. Beach are attorneys Peter Camiel of Seattle and Terry Toavs of Montana.
CM continues to fight for Barry Beach in the wake of the Montana Supreme Court ruling which place Beach back in the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge after 18 successful months of freedom.