DEADLY DECISIONS: State records show doctors early on suspected Montwheeler was faking illness

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

The Enterprise

State doctors suspected nearly 20 years ago that Anthony W. Montwheeler was feigning mental illness to avoid prison, newly disclosed records show.

The records, a portion of state files on Montwheeler, give no indication that officials acted on that suspicion until Montwheeler admitted his ruse two years ago.

Montwheeler, 49, told doctors that he hoped his ploy would get him in and out of the Oregon State Hospital in six months, sparing him at least seven years in prison.

Instead, he remained under the jurisdiction of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board, including years in custody at the state . . .