Whitefish Man Committed to State Hospital After Stabbing Father

Tanner Hosek had previously pleaded guilty “by reason of mental disorder” in November

By Justin Franz
Tanner Hosek appears in Flathead County District Court on July 19, 2018. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

A 28-year-old Whitefish man who stabbed his father to death during an episode of “extreme mental stress” has been committed to the Montana State Hospital.

Tanner Hosek was sentenced on Jan. 23 in Flathead County District Court. The sentencing happened two months after Hosek pleaded guilty “by reason of mental disorder” to a single count of mitigated deliberate homicide.

Hosek was committed to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services for 40 years with 20 years suspended. Hosek received 563 days credit for time previously served.

According to court documents and law enforcement, Flathead County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a reported altercation between two men along Wilderness Lane near Whitefish at approximately 8:30 p.m. on July 9, 2018. When law enforcement arrived they found Eric Kevin Hosek, 65, dead from multiple stab wounds. Officers found and questioned the younger Hosek who, according to court documents, admitted to stabbing his father.

According to court records, Hosek has long struggled with a serious mental health disorder and was living under the ward of his parents. Documents from 2015 note that Hosek was prone to “episodes where his judgment is impaired to the degree that he needs monitoring and supervision for his own safety and protection.” Hosek was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Hosek was charged in July 2018 with deliberate homicide. That charge was amended to mitigated deliberate homicide more than a year later.

During the sentencing hearing, Flathead County Attorney Travis Ahner recommended a 40-year commitment to the state hospital. While Ahner noted that Hosek’s mother — who was present in the courtroom during sentencing — did not support that recommendation, he believed it would be best for Hosek and the pubic. Ahner also said that even if the judge handed down a 40-year sentence, it was unlikely Hosek would serve all of that time. The Department of Health and Human Services does annual evaluations and works with the Department of Corrections to determine if someone is ready for release.

“Should he have a slip up or relapse following his release, the Department of Health and Human Services would be able to pull him back in to get him the help he needs and ensure that the public is safe,” Ahner said.

Defense Attorney William Managhan argued that a 40-year commitment with 30 years suspended would be a better option, allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to remain involved but also giving Hosek the chance to come home sooner and be with his mother.

“She already lost her husband, she shouldn’t lose her son too,” Managhan said.

Prior to handing down his sentence, Judge Robert Allison asked Hosek, who appeared in court via video from the Montana State Hospital, if he had anything he would like to say.

“I’m sorry this happened,” Hosek said.

“Ok, anything else?” Allison said after a long pause.

“No, your honor,” Hosek said.

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