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Monfort's Lawyers Plead For Jury's Mercy

Guards wheel Monfort from the courtroom on Wednesday. Monfort is paralyzed from the waist down.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols
Guards wheel Monfort from the courtroom on Wednesday. Monfort is paralyzed from the waist down.

Closing arguments continue Thursday in the penalty phase of the trial of Christopher Monfort. Monfort ambushed two Seattle police officers in 2009, killing one of them. 

The state wants to see Monfort executed. The defense hopes Monfort gets life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Attorneys on both sides laid out their case before the jury.

Women make up over half the jury. Monfort’s attorneys reminded them of Monfort’s difficult childhood. He was abandoned by his mother, never really connected with his father, and was repeatedly bullied by racist peers. That mistreatment set the stage for his mental illness. They say he snapped when he saw a video of a young mixed race girl getting beat up by a large police officer.

Monfort’s attorney Stacey MacDonald told the jury that those mitigating circumstances don’t excuse the crime. But they could be enough to inspire mercy. She advised them not to back down from that feeling when deciding Monfort’s fate.

MacDonald: “So what that means is back in that room, you can be back in that jury room and one juror can talk for 15 minutes about why they feel a death sentence is appropriate.

"And the next juror can say, 'For me, based on my moral judgment, life is appropriate. And I can’t quite tell you why I feel that way, but that’s my moral judgment.'

"All right. You don’t have to defend yourself. No one can require that you articulate why you feel the way you feel.”

On the other hand, prosecutor John Castleton asked jurists to think hard before granting any leniency to Monfort.

Castleton: “Does he deserve your mercy? The entire reason he did what he did was to show no mercy. His intent in killing Tim Brenton and trying to kill Britt Sweeney was to show no mercy. He told you flat out he has no remorse.”

Closing arguments will continue Thursday morning.