Not Guilty, Christopher Monfort Says, Of Killing Seattle Cop; First Court Appearance in Slaying of Tim Brenton

Christopher Monfort, denies killing officer on Halloween
Christopher Monfort, facing a murder charge for killing a Seattle police officer Halloween night, stared at the courtroom floor, nodded when asked to confirm his name, listened quietly as the charges were read, and then pled not guilty in King County Superior Court today, with his attorney answering for him. He was wheeled back to custody without a word.

Fellow officers, friends, and family of slain policeman Tim Brenton, including his widow Lisa Brenton, filled the courtroom and watched through a security window as the partially paralyzed Monfort, looking stunned as he sat in his wheelchair, waived his speedy trial right; the court did not set a trial date.

Monfort, 41, heard four charges against him read aloud briefly - first degree arson for a city maintenance yard fire and three counts of attempted first-degree murder (for attempting to kill officer trainee Britt Sweeney, who was with Brenton Halloween night, and for attempting to kill two other officers during his arrest).

The fifth count, the aggravated murder, of Brenton, 39, was read aloud in full detail by a prosecutor, emphasizing the importance of the homicide for which Monfort could face the death penalty. A TV camera, as ordered by the court, did not show Monfort's shackles in order to avoid affecting his right to a fair trial.

According to the Times, Lisa Brenton read from a written statement and, referring to the recent four Lakewood police slayings as well, said "From the family of the one, to the families of the four, these deaths are not going to be tolerated anymore." Christopher Monfort's mother, Suzan Monfort, offered her condolences: "We're heartbroken for the families. We're heartbroken for my son," she said. "It's a tragedy for everyone."

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