• Cop killer gets life in prison instead of death in Seattle case

    By: KIRO 7 STAFF


    SEATTLE, Wash. -

    The man who killed a Seattle police officer and wounded his partner in a 2009 ambush will spend the rest of his life in prison instead of getting the death penalty, a jury decided Thursday.


    • Christopher Monfort found guilty of murdering SPD officer
    • Jury told they may not discuss case until end of sentencing phase
    • Psychology experts disagreed on Monfort's mental state
    • Judge said despite mental illness Monfort could pick between right and wrong

    Monfort was 41 when he killed Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton on Halloween night 2009. This same jury who decided his punishment convicted Monfort last month. 

    Monfort was also found guilty of attempted murder for shooting Brenton's partner, Britt Kelly, and arson for destroying vehicles at a city maintenance yard weeks before the fatal attack.

    The court adjourned Thursday morning, and the jury spent less than three hours to reach a decision to save Monfort’s life.

    Brenton’s brother had previously told KIRO 7 the family did not have a preference on whether Monfort got a death penalty.

    After the announcement, Brenton’s stepmother, Marlene Brenton, said the sentence was enough.

    “Monfort’s going to suffer for the rest of his life, and his life is not going to be joyful. He’s not going to feel things most people can. He’s not going to walk on the beach, or celebrate holidays with family members around the table,” she said.

    She said they’re relieved at not having to go through a painful appeal process, and that she’d like to start focusing on remembering her stepson, rather than on the trial and his death.

    “Tim was a good one, a great son, a fabulous husband,” she said.

    A juror said the group was unanimous in their decision.

    When Monfort was asked if he had anything to say to Brenton’s family, he told KIRO 7, “there’s a lot of tears we got to shed before we get to them. There’s a lot of dead people all around.

    He referred to police brutality around the country that he used to justify this killing.

    His mother, Suzan Monfort, was much more sympathetic to the Brenton family.

    “I wish them well. I’m so sorry. I wish I could bring their son back,” she said.

    Monfort's lawyer said his life should be spared because of his struggles with mental illness and a tough childhood in which he faced racism and bullying while growing up in Indiana.

    His lawyer told the jury they must decide if a sentence of life in prison is not enough and if they want to have poison injected into his veins or a rope around his neck.

    Previous coverage:

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