The trial of the accused cop killer who faces the death penalty after he allegedly opened fire on two East Precinct officers on Halloween night 2009 and killed veteran officer Timothy Brenton began Tuesday morning.
Accused killer Christopher Monfort faces the death penalty for the killing prosecutors say was part of a two-week campaign of violence against police officers. A week before the killing, police say Monfort set off explosive devices and set three police cars on fire at a maintenance yard.
Halloween night, Brenton was shot as he sat in his patrol car on Halloween night near 29th and Yesler. Officer Britt Sweeney was wounded in the attack but survived. Monfort also faces an attempted first-degree murder charge for allegedly shooting Sweeney.
Sweeney, a trainee at the time and on the force for about seven months, was able to make a radio call reporting “shots fired” and exit the vehicle to return fire, striking the suspect vehicle several times as it drove away.
Prosecutors say Monfort, 41 at the time of the attack, had written a manifesto against police brutality before the shooting.
“Christopher Monfort targeted two Seattle police officers for assassination in 2009 ‘solely because they were police officers,’ a prosecutor said Tuesday morning during the opening statements in Christopher Monfort’s trial,” The Seattle times reports (Image: Seattle Times)
In November 2014, CHS visited the community memorial at the site of the shooting on the fifth anniversary of Brenton’s murder. Brenton was 39. He was survived by his wife Lisa and two children.
In 2009, a procession of police cars filled Broadway the day following the murder as Brenton’s body was taken to Bonney Watson Funeral Home. A massive search for the killer included images of the suspect vehicle and a suspect description full of fears of domestic terrorism. Six days later, just as a memorial service for Brenton at Key Area concluded, police moved in on a suspect traced to Tukwila. Monfort was shot by police during his arrest and paralyzed from the waist down.
In 2013, a judge ruled Monfort could not face the death penalty because county prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s office had “failed to exercise the discretion it is statuatorily and constitutionally obliged to exercise.” That decision was later reversed. Early in 2014, Governor Jay Inslee instituted a moratorium on all executions in the state.
Satterberg office continues to pursue a capital case against the defendant. Meanwhile, Monfort’s lawyers must prove he was insane by a preponderance of the evidence.