Judge pushes Montwheeler trial into next year

VALE – Anthony Montwheeler won’t go before a jury of his peers until next year after the judge presiding over his case granted a defense motion to delay the Nampa man’s trial.

Monday, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Thomas Ryan pushed the trial from this September to July 2020 to give Montwheeler’s defense team more time to prepare.

Montwheeler is charged with kidnapping and stabbing to death Annita Harmon, an ex-wife, on Jan. 9, 2017, and then killing David Bates of Vale and injuring his wife Jessica in a collision during a police pursuit. Montwheeler faces counts of aggravated murder, three counts of murder, and one count each of first-degree assault and first-degree kidnapping.

In February, Montwheeler pleaded not guilty to the charges. Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe has said he would seek the death penalty if Montwheeler is convicted.

In recent weeks Montwheeler’s defense has filed a plethora of motions with the court, including requests for a change of venue, and a declaration that Montwheeler is not eligible for the death penalty.

Ryan also decided to review all of motions in the case – with the exception of the change of venue motion – the week of Aug. 5.

“On behalf of the victims, I am disappointed the case got moved but I understand the judge’s legal reasons for why he granted the motion to continue,” said Goldthorpe.

For the latest news, follow the Enterprise on Facebook and Twitter.

SUBSCRIBE TO UNDERWRITE VITAL REPORTING — The Malheur Enterprise increasingly relies on reader subscriptions to fund its operations. For $5 a month, you get breaking news alerts, emailed newsletters and around-the-clock access to our stories. We depend on subscribers to pay for in-depth, accurate news produced by a professional and highly trained staff. Help us grow and get better with your subscription. Sign up HERE.