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Prosecutors Say Monfort Hunted Down Police, Defense Lawyers Say He's Delusional

Christopher Monfort sat in a wheelchair in King County Superior Court as Prosecutor John Castleton told jurors Monfort was on a mission to hunt down police.

“This attack, this ambush on Officer Sweeney and Officer Brenton, maybe it was just happenstance. Maybe he was just driving and saw them sitting there and took a shot. But ladies and gentleman, the evidence will show  that’s not the case. In fact, the defendant stalked Officer Brenton and Officer Sweeney,” Castleton said in his opening statement Tuesday.

Monfort is accused of killing Seattle Police Officer Tim Brenton and wounding his partner, Britt Sweeny, on Halloween 2009. He is also accused of setting a fire that damaged police vehicles at a city maintenance yard.

Monfort faces several charges, including aggravated first-degree murder. If convicted, prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Defense lawyers on Tuesday told the court Monfort was bullied as a child. They said Monfort grew more and more agitated by cases of police brutality, such as the beating of Rodney King in 1991.

They argued that Monfort’s concern turned to an obsession. They said their client's brain went a little “haywire” and he thought killing police officers was the right thing to do.

Monfort, who is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police when he was arrested, can only sit upright for about two hours at a time. Because of this, the trial is expected to last up to eight months. 


Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.