NewsCrime and Courts


Sentencing begins for Johnathan Bertsch in Missoula

Johnathan Bertsch
Johnathan Bertsch Sentencing
Posted at 10:46 AM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 18:05:35-05

MISSOULA — A two-day sentencing trial is underway in a Missoula courtroom for the man who is charged with a shooting that killed two people and seriously injured two others – including a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper.

Johnathan Bertsch pleaded guilty after being charged for shooting four people, killing two, in an incident in Missoula and Evaro on March 15, 2019.

Bertsch has admitted to two counts of deliberate homicide, and two counts of attempted deliberate homicide after Shelley Hays and Julie Blanchard died from injuries sustained in the shooting.

Bertsch was taken to Warm Springs State Mental Hospital to determine his mental fitness after his father came forward and said his son is autistic and didn’t know what he was doing when he pleaded.

A judge eventually confirmed the evaluation from Warm Springs that found Bertsch is fit to proceed to sentencing.