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Bates lawsuit goes to hearing Monday as state seeks to end case

VALE – A lawsuit filed to hold the state accountable for its release of Anthony Montwheeler three years ago faces a crucial hearing Monday, when state lawyers try to persuade a judge to toss the case.

Montwheeler, the man at the heart of the lawsuit, won’t be there.

He remains in jail pending criminal charges that he kidnapped and murdered an ex-wife in January 2017, and while fleeing police crashed into an oncoming vehicle outside Ontario, killing David Bates of Vale and injuring his wife, Jessica.

Jessica Bates sued the state in Malheur County Circuit Court on behalf of her five children, seeking $500,000. In her complaint, Bates said the state knew Montwheeler was dangerous and should not have been freed from the Oregon State Hospital.

In court filings, the state said state agencies can’t be . . .