NewsCrime and Courts


Victim reacts to verdict in Johnathan Bertsch Missoula murder case

casey blanchard
Posted at 9:47 AM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 11:52:46-05

MISSOULA — It's life in prison without the possibility of parole for the man who killed two people and critically injured two others during a night of violence nearly three years ago.

Johnathan Bertsch's actions took the lives of two, and forever changed the lives of two more, along with their family and friends. We talked with one of the victims who says he's happy the defendant won't be able to harm anyone else.

After being shot multiple times, Casey Blanchard is bound to a wheelchair. In a powerful written statement Tuesday, Blanchard said he will never be able to walk down the aisle to meet his fiance or play yard games with his kids. And he echoed those sentiments Wednesday.

Victim reacts to verdict in Johnathan Bertsch Missoula murder case

"Being in a wheelchair is pretty difficult with everyday tasks, changing our littlest one, trying to play catch or kickball with the kids,” Casey Blanchard said. Riding four wheelers is a little harder now. things that kids want to do with their dads is pretty difficult."

Those words and the words of other witnesses and loved ones impacted the judge's decision.

It was another emotional hearing in Missoula County District Court, as the sentencing for Bertsch came to an end. The Arlee man was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.