The death penalty is off the table for Christopher Monfort, a King County Superior Court judge ruled today. Still, the judge said the case against the accused cop-killer could proceed as a capital case so as not to delay the trial.
Chief Criminal Judge Ronald Kessler determined that King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg "abused his discretion both substantially and procedurally" by limiting his investigation into mitigating factors that could have merited leniency for Monfort -- a life sentence instead of death. The prosecutor "failed to exercise the discretion" he was required to show in reaching his decision, said Kessler in his order (below)
It is believed that the state will seek state Supreme Court review of Kessler's ruling.
Monfort is charged with aggravated murder in the fatal shooting of Officer Timothy Brenton and attempted first-degree murder in the wounding of Officer Britt Sweeney on Oct. 31, 2009.
Click here to read Rick Anderson's cover story in Seattle Weekly this week on Monfort, and the millions the state has spent to see him die.