Prosecution asks for Life without Parole for Jonathan Bertsch

The first day of the sentencing hearing for Jonathan Bertsch, the man who confessed to shooting two people to death and critically wounding two others got underway on Tuesday morning in Courtroom 1 in the Missoula County Courthouse.

There was an overflow crowd of Montana Highway Patrol troopers, sheriff’s deputies, police officers, and other law enforcement personnel on hand to witness the sentencing hearing, which has been scheduled to last two days.

Bertsch sat between two defense attorneys and viewed evidence gathered by law enforcement of the shootings that occurred on March 14 and 15, 2019.

Missoula County Attorney Meghann Paddock related the sentencing recommendation to Judge Shane Vannatta.

“On March 14th of 2019, Jonathan Bertsch appointed himself, judge, jury and executioner,” began Paddock. “Casey Blanchard and Shelley Hays went out that night minding their own business. They were at Marvin’s Bar. They had a few drinks, and Casey’s mom, Julie Blanchard, came to the bar to pick them up and take them home, but Judge, as you saw, they never made it.”

After pursuing the truck with the victims inside, Bertsch then unleashed a fusillade of bullets.

“He shot that truck 37 times,” she said. “There were 37 shell casings recovered from the scene. When

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