Judge to decide this week if Montwheeler is fit to stand trial, state doctor says he is not

The current mental condition of Anthony Montwheeler, seen here in a court hearing earlier this year, is the focus of testimony in Malheur Circuit Court this week. (Pat Caldwell/The Enterprise)

The Oregon State Hospital’s top expert on mental illness and the law testified Monday morning that Anthony Montwheeler is not competent to stand trial for two alleged killings and a kidnapping in 2017.

Dr. Octavio Choi, a psychiatrist and director of the hospital’s Forensic Evaluation Services, diagnosed Montwheeler with adjustment disorder with depressive symptoms -- more commonly known as mild to moderate depression. He also said that condition “significantly impaired” the man’s ability to understand court proceedings, particularly to make rational decisions about his options in the case.

“Mr. Montwheeler does not have total incapacity,” Choi said. “A key question is whether he understands how a plea bargain . . .