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May 18, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Trial set for man accused of killing Seattle police officer

Christopher Monfort, the man charged with killing Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton and wounding his partner, Officer Britt Sweeney, on Oct. 31, 2009, will stand trial next year.

King County Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler today set Monfort’s trial for Sept. 13, 2013. If convicted, Monfort, 43, could face the death penalty.

Monfort is charged with aggravated murder in the fatal shooting of Brenton and attempted first-degree murder in the wounding of Sweeney. Brenton, 39, and officer-trainee Sweeney, then-33, were seated in their parked patrol car when Monfort pulled alongside and opened fire, authorities said.

Brenton was killed immediately and Sweeney suffered minor injuries.

Police and prosecutors say Monfort had intentionally targeted officers. He is also accused of firebombing four police cruisers at a city maintenance yard on Oct. 22. Investigators found an unexploded device that they say was intended to detonate as police and firefighters responded to the initial blaze. Nobody was hurt.

However, the arsonist left behind a note railing against police brutality, along with other items. Similar items were left at the scene of the ambush, police said.

After Brenton’s slaying, a massive manhunt ensued and on Nov. 6, the day of Brenton’s memorial service, a team of detectives was directed to a Tukwila apartment complex after a tipster reported seeing a car believed to have been in the area where the officers were shot.

As detectives approached the car, Monfort appeared, pulled a handgun and pointed it at Sgt. Gary Nelson. Monfort’s weapon misfired, however, and he was shot in the face and abdomen when he tried to flee, police said.

When police later searched Monfort’s apartment, they say, they found an arsenal of guns, explosives and a manifesto on police brutality.

Monfort is also charged with firebombings and two additional counts of attempted first-degree murder — for pointing a gun at Nelson and another count for allegedly trying to kill officers at the scene of the firebombings.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: attempted murder, death penalty, homicide

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