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Jessica Bates to seek $5 million in damages for state’s release of Montwheeler

By Les Zaitz

The Enterprise

Jessica Bates, widow and mother of five, may forgive Anthony Montwheeler but she isn’t forgiving state officials for releasing from state control the man subsequently accused of killing her husband.

Through her attorney, Bates has notified the state she intends to sue two state agencies for $5 million for their role in freeing Montwheeler from the Oregon State Hospital last December.

Montwheeler, 49, was arrested a month later, accused of kidnapping and murdering Annita Harmon, his ex-wife from Weiser, and then killing David Bates and injuring Jessica Bates in a collision as he eluded police. He faces a potential death penalty on charges of aggravated murder, first-degree assault and kidnapping.

Jessica Bates said she will file claims against the Oregon State Hospital, a unit of the Oregon Health Authority, and the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board. She said she will seek compensation . . .