State moves to stop family lawsuits in Montwheeler case

Nampa resident Anthony Montwheeler sits silent with his head down during a recent court appearance in Malheur County Circuit Court. Two lawsuits filed by local families connected to Montwheeler's case have been deemed to be without merit by the Oregon Department of Justice. (The Enterprise/File).

VALE – The Oregon Department of Justice is moving to shut down an effort by two local families to hold the state responsible for the deaths of Annita Harmon and Vale resident David Bates more than two years ago.

The state also is suing Anthony Montwheeler, claiming he had a role in Bates’ death and should be liable for any damages owed to the Bates family.

Jessica Bates, the wife of David Bates, and Leslie Harmon, the father of Annita Harmon, sued the the state in December. Their suits assert the Oregon Psychiatric . . .