Life or death: Jurors deciding fate of convicted cop killer Christopher Monfort
SEATTLE — On Wednesday, during closing arguments in the penalty phase hearing for Christopher Monfort, jurors thought they might hear directly from the convicted cop killer.
Though he never testified during his murder trial, Monfort’s lawyers insinuated he might be willing to speak on his behalf before jurors decide whether he receives the death penalty or life in prison.
Ultimately, Monfort decided not to talk Wednesday. Still, prosecutors used his own words in court when they began arguing for the death penalty.
Prosecutor John Castleton played a jail house interview between a psychiatrist and Monfort.
When the doctor asked Monfort if he had any remorse for killing Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton, Monfort said, “No. I’m sorry it had to happen. I wish we didn’t have any police brutality. I wish I didn’t have to do anything. I’d much rather be doing other stuff.”
On Halloween night six years ago, Monfort opened fire on a patrol car, killing Brenton and wounding his partner, Britt Sweeney. Monfort had earlier firebombed vehicles at a city maintenance yard.
“His goal was to kill as many police officers as he could,” said Castleton. “His goal was to reign terror down on the city of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department.”
Monfort’s defense team urged jurors to spare him from the death penalty and consider his mental health, along with his rough childhood, when deciding his fate. They encouraged the jury to have mercy.
“If you want to give mercy, you can do so,” said Stacey MacDonald. “You can still sentence him to a life sentence, a harsh sentence, based on mercy alone.”
Both sides agree this is the most difficult decision a jury can make. The defense and prosecution are expected to wrap up final arguments Thursday. The jury will then begin its deliberations.