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DEADLY DECISION: Malheur County murder suspect feigned insanity for 20 years to avoid prison

A memorial for David Bates marks the spot where he was killed in a collision on Jan. 9, 2017, on Oregon Highway 201 near Ontario. (Malheur Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

By Les Zaitz

Malheur Enterprise

He got away with it.

After feigning insanity for years to stay out of a prison cell, Tony Montwheeler finally confessed his scheme. Now, no longer judged mentally ill, he would walk free from the Oregon State Hospital even though officials were told he was dangerous.

That day, state psychologist Brian Hartman warned the state board considering Montwheeler’s release what might happen.

“His risk of violence would be high and it would be most likely to target his intimate partner or other family member,” Hartman testified in December . . .