NewsCrime and Courts


Bertsch scheduled to be sentenced for killing two people and wounding two others

 Johnathan Bertsch
Posted at 2:32 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 16:43:15-04

MISSOULA — It’s been more than two years now since a shooting in Missoula that killed two people, and seriously injured two others. The defendant, Johnathan Bertsch, still has not been tried or sentenced, but has pleaded guilty. Now there’s questions on his mental fitness.

He is charged with shooting four people, killing two of them, on March 15th, 2019. Bertsch pleaded guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide, and two counts of attempted deliberate homicide last year, after Shelley Hays and Julie Blanchard died from injuries sustained in the shooting.

But then, documents say, his father came forward, saying his son is autistic, and didn’t know what he was doing when he pleaded.

Bertsch has been in the Warm Springs State Mental Hospital, and lawyers have been trying to determine his mental fitness for months.

In court on Thursday, Judge Shane Vannatta confirmed that Bertsch is fit for sentencing. The judge confirmed the evaluation from Warm Springs that found he is fit to proceed to sentencing.

Sentencing has been scheduled for May 24th.