SEATTLE - Christopher Monfort, who is accused of killing Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton on Halloween night in 2009, has been granted his own television set. The TV will be installed in his King County Jail cell within the next few days.
Monfort faces charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder and arson. In addition to killing Brenton, he wounded Brenton's partner, Officer Britt Sweeney, in the attack. He is also accused of firebombing four Seattle police vehicles at a city maintenance yard. Prosecutors have said that he was conducting a "one-man war" on police.
Monfort, who was partially paralyzed after being shot twice by detectives during his arrest, faces the death penalty if he’s convicted of killing Brenton. He is currently being held in the downtown Seattle jail at the "ultra security" level of custody.
Monford is reportedly getting the TV for "health reasons" and because he is "lonely." He will be the only ultra-secruity inmate at King County Jail with his own television.
Sources inside the King County Jail said that many of the nearly 500 officers who work there are angry about what they call special treatment of a suspected cop-killer.
Some members of the Seattle Police Officers Guild are also angry. "You want to talk about lonely?" Guild president Rich O'Neill asked. "Why don't we talk about (Brenton's) family? Why don't we think about how lonely they are as we approach the third anniversary of Tim's murder, and then we're going to give this criminal extra privileges because he's lonely?"
Jail director Claudia Balducci said that Monfort is in a unique situation. He's been awaiting trial for nearly three years, much longer than most inmates. Because he's charged with killing a police officer, his safety is "high risk,'" especially because he is paralyzed from the waist down. All of the other inmates at the jail have access to a TV.
"We've decided that he needs to have some kind of stimulation," Balducci said. "Some kind of distraction. He doesn't have that the way other inmates do throughout the rest of our jails."
Carl Luer, Monfort's attorney, agrees. The public defender said that he thinks that giving Monfort a TV is a good idea.
Monford will be held at the King County Jail in downtown Seattle until his trial starts. The trial is expected to get under way in Sept. of 2013.