News & Features

Prosecutors Refile Homicide Charge Against Great Falls Woman

Pamela Jean Courtnage was found unfit to stand trial in her mother’s 2017 beating death

GREAT FALLS — Cascade County prosecutors have refiled a deliberate homicide charge against a Great Falls woman who was found unfit to stand trial in her mother’s 2017 beating death.

County Attorney Josh Racki tells the Great Falls Tribune that his office was told Pamela Jean Courtnage may be due to discharge from the state psychiatric hospital in Warm Springs.

District Judge Elizabeth Best scheduled a hearing Monday afternoon to determine if the charges can proceed.

Courtnage was arrested in May 2017 in the death of 69-year-old Katherine Courtnage of Big Sandy.

Court records say Pamela Courtnage suffers from a mental illness that causes delusions.

In September 2017, a judge said hospital staff could medicate Courtnage involuntarily. A year later, state psychiatrist Dr. Virginia Hill said three medications had failed to improve Courtnage’s condition enough that she could help with her defense.