Christopher Monfort has been convicted of murder in the Halloween night 2009 shooting of veteran East Precinct officer Timothy Brenton
The trial of the accused cop killer who faces the death penalty for shooting two East Precinct officers on Halloween night 2009 began in January.
Monfort now faces the death penalty for the killing prosecutors said 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.
Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler read the verdict Friday morning and said the trial will now move to a new phase to determine Monfort’s punishment. Kessler said the defendant does have a mental disease or defect but was capable of knowing murder was illegal. Monfort had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury also found Monfort guilty of one count of attempted murder and arson.
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.
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.
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 statutorily 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.
“I hope that as this trial enters the penalty phase, Officer Brenton’s loved ones are able to continue the healing process,” Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement. “My prayers are with them during this difficult time.”
“Tim remains in the thoughts of SPD members every day, and his loss will always be deeply felt throughout the department,” SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a statement released following the verdict. “His friends often talk about Tim’s sharp sense of humor and his genuine commitment to public service.”
“We will continue to honor Tim’s memory by serving and protecting professionally, as he always did,” O’Toole said.