SEATTLE — A jury quickly came to a decision Thursday sentencing a man convicted of killing a Seattle police officer in 2009 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A King County Superior Court jury reached a verdict Thursday after deliberating for about an hour.
Christopher Monfort was convicted last month of killing Officer Timothy Brenton, rejecting his insanity defense.
The jury also found him guilty of attempted murder for shooting Brenton’s partner, Britt Kelly.
The prosecutor has said Monfort ambushed the officers and called it a “cold-blooded assassination.”
Monfort’s attorney argued his life should be spared because of his mental illness, his difficult childhood and lack of a criminal record prior to the shooting.
Following the decision in court Thursday, Seattle’s mayor and police chief issued statements:
“Today’s sentencing of Christopher Monfort ends a horrifying chapter in the history of Seattle and its Police Department,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “I pray Officer Timothy Brenton’s family and loved ones can find some solace now that the sentencing phase has ended. I thank the men and women of the Seattle Police Department for their dedication and for putting themselves at risk every day to serve and protect the people of this city. I also commend the jury for its service.”
“Today’s verdict and life sentence of Christopher Monfort is a small measure of justice for our fallen brother, Officer Timothy Brenton,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “We will never forget Tim’s smile, dedication, and friendship – and will hold these qualities dear as we protect and serve our city and each other.”
On Wednesday 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. 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.”