Monfort Gets Life In Prison For Ambush Of Seattle Police Officers
Christopher Monfort should spend the rest of his life in prison without parole for the ambush slaying of a Seattle police officer, a King County Superior Court jury decided Thursday.
Monfort was convicted June 5 of ambushing two Seattle police officers as they sat in their patrol car in 2009, killing Timothy Brenton.
Monfort was also found guilty of the attempted murder of Brenton's partner, Britt Sweeney, and of arson involving a firebombing at a city facility.
The jury's decision to reject the death penalty in Monfort's case was swift -- members deliberated for just an hour or so -- and it was unanimous.
Monfort's defense attorney, Carl Luer, said he can’t gauge how rare this verdict is.
“I don’t think there have been that many death penalty cases charged in police officer murders that I can think of, so I can’t really say how unusual it would be," he said. "I think probably a little unusual that they would be unanimous, 12 to nothing."
In May, a split jury decision also spared Joseph McEnroe from death after he was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend’s family members in Carnation.
Luer said he hopes these decisions will deter King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg from seeking the death penalty again. “Hopefully going forward that will have some influence on his decision-making," he said. "I mean, our case could have been resolved a long time ago with a life sentence.”
In a statement, Satterberg said, “The facts of this case called out for the jury to consider the full range of punishment options.” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole called the life sentence “a small measure of justice” for Brenton’s death.
Monfort was captured a week after the shootings and was wounded during the arrest, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Monfort's attorneys had argued that he suffered delusions and wasn't aware of his actions.
His mother, Suzan Monfort, said Thursday that she's grateful the jury spared him and only wishes "love and peace" for Brenton's family. "I wish I could bring their son back," she said.
Sgt Gary Nelson, who Monfort tried to kill: "I respect the jury's decision."— elisa hahn (@ElisaTHahn) July 23, 2015
Correction: 7/24/2015, 12:50 p.m.: In an earlier version of this story, Suzan Monfort's first name was misspelled.