By Pat Caldwell
VALE – Tony Montwheeler, accused in two murders in Malheur County, has been scheduled for trial nearly two years from now.
Montwheeler is accused of kidnapping and murdering Annita Harmon, an ex-wife, and killing David Bates and injuring Jessica Bates in a collision while eluding police in January.Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe said he still has not received the results of a mental health evaluation of the former Nampa man conducted in September at the state hospital.
“We are in limbo,” said Goldthorpe.
Once Goldthorpe receives the results of the state examination, a court hearing will determine if Montwheeler is fit for trial or whether he needs treatment at the state hospital.
In June, Malheur Senior Circuit Judge Patri cia Sullivan ordered Montwheeler be examined after she found “there is reason to doubt defendant’s fitness to proceed.”
Multnomah Circuit Court Judge Tom Ryan scheduled a jury trial for September 2019.
The two state judges in Malheur County aren’t handling the case because of past dealings with Montwheeler as prosecutors.
Montwheeler was judged guilty but insane in 1997 in the kidnapping of his first wife and son in Baker City.
He was put under the control of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board, and over the next 20 years was treated at the state hospital and in the community.
He testified last year that he had faked his mental illness, and state officials agreed in releasing him in December 2016.
Have a news tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-473-3377.