NewsCrime and Courts


Johnathan Bertsch ruled fit to proceed to sentencing

Jonathan Bertsch.png
Posted at 1:47 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 16:40:46-04

MISSOULA — It’s been more than two years now since a shooting in Missoula that killed two people, and badly injured two others.

The defendant still has not been tried or sentenced, but has pleaded guilty. Now there’s questions on his mental fitness.

Defendant Johnathan Bertsch is being charged for shooting four people, killing two, in an incident on March 15th, 2019

In court Thursday, Judge Shane Vannatta confirmed he is fit for sentencing.

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 Warm Springs State Mental Hospital, and lawyers have now been trying to determine the defendant's mental fitness for months.

The judge confirmed the evaluation from Warm Springs that found he is fit to proceed to sentencing.

The sentencing was set for May 24th.