Bertsch murder sentencing postponed until November

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Jonathan Bertsch

Zoe Buchli

The sentencing date for an Arlee man who shot and killed two people and wounded two others, including a Montana Highway Patrol trooper, has been pushed to November.

Johnathan A. Bertsch, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of deliberate homicide and three counts of attempted deliberate homicide in June 2020. Both are felony charges.

Missoula County District Judge Shane Vannatta presided.

The sentencing dates are now set for Nov. 16 and Nov. 17. The court noted that because the victims and their surviving family members have been waiting over two years for closure, sentencing may not be continued again.

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Defense filed a motion to continue sentencing on Wednesday on the grounds the defense counsel required more time to prepare for the hearing.

In March 2019, Bertsch fired multiple rounds at a pickup truck which was carrying three people — Shelley Hays, Julie Blanchard and Casey Blanchard, Julie’s son. Hays and Julie both died as a result of

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