Montwheeler pleads guilty to killing ex-wife, Vale man to end 4-year-old case

Anthony Montwheeler, accused of killing an ex-wife and a Vale resident pleaded guilty to three charges Friday. (The Enterprise/File)

VALE – A Nampa man accused of killing an ex-wife and a Vale resident more than four years ago pleaded guilty to a series of charges Friday in Malheur County Circuit Court, according to Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe.

Anthony Montwheeler pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and third-degree assault.

Montwheeler was charged with a series of crimes that occurred in January 2017. He was accused of kidnapping his ex-wife, Annita Harmon, and stabbing her to death outside an Ontario gas station. He was also charged with murder following a head-on crash on Oregon Highway 201 that killed Vale resident David Bates and injured his wife, Jessica.

Under the plea agreement, Montwheeler will be sentenced to life in prison with a possibility for parole after 25 years. However, if he is granted parole then, he will begin to serve a 10-year sentence for the death of David Bates.

Montwheeler is scheduled to be sentenced March 19 in Malheur County Circuit Court.

The guilty plea was the result of a settlement conference between the district attorney’s office and Montwheeler’s defense team.

A settlement conference is typically held in a judge’s chambers or a private conference room. There is no court reporter in the conference and usually people not involved with the case cannot attend the session.

Montwheeler’s case has zigzagged through the Oregon court system for more than four years. Montwheeler pleaded not guilty in 2019 and a trial date was set for September. In May 2019, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ryan pushed the trial to July 2020 to give Montwheeler’s attorneys time to prepare.

Ryan reset the trial date to February because of Covid.

Last fall, Montwheeler’s defense team asked for a settlement conference.

This story will be updated 


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