Widow Watches Officer's Assassin Plead Not Guilty
Christopher Monfort, the Tukwila man charged with killing Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton. (AP Photo)
The AP via YellowBrix
December 15, 2009
SEATTLE — A man accused of killing a Seattle police officer on Halloween pleaded not guilty Monday to several charges — with the officer’s widow in the courtroom.
The plea for Christopher Monfort, 41, was entered by his lawyer in King County Superior Court in Seattle. He was ordered held without bail.
Prosecutors said Monfort was conducting a “one man war” on police when he shot Officer Timothy Brenton and wounded Officer Britt Sweeney as they sat in a parked patrol car. He’s also accused of firebombing police cars on Oct. 22.
Monfort was wounded in a Nov. 6 confrontation with officers who arrested him at his apartment complex in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila. He appeared in court in a wheelchair.
Related: Judge: Cop Killer Can Be Photographed
The courtroom was packed with Seattle police officers, including Sweeney, and Brenton’s widow.
Lisa Brenton told reporters that she had felt helpless, afraid and confused since the shooting and had planned to avoid media at Monday’s arraignment.
But after visiting the memorial to the four Lakewood police officers killed Nov. 29 she was overwhelmed with a sense of strength and support.“From the family of the one to the families of the four, these deaths are not going to be tolerated,” she said, breaking down in tears.
Sweeney did not speak to reporters after the arraignment.
KING-TV reported that Monfort’s mother, Suzan Monfort, told reporters it was a tragedy for both sides.
King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg has 30 days from Monfort’s arraignment to decide whether to seek the death penalty, but such decisions are typically delayed to give defense attorneys more time to prepare.
Monfort was charged Nov. 11 with aggravated first-degree murder in the death of Brenton. He’s also charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Sweeney, a rookie officer who was grazed by a bullet.
He faces two additional counts of attempted murder and one of arson from an alleged attempt to kill officers during the Oct. 22 arson that burned police vehicles, and an alleged attempt to shoot a detective who approached him outside his apartment.
No clear motive has emerged, but Satterberg has said that Monfort left fliers at the arson discussing police brutality.
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