Jury selection is under way for the trial of Christopher Monfort, the man accused of killing Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton and wounding a second officer on Halloween night 2009.
Monfort, 46, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He will be facing the death penalty if he’s convicted of the ambush slaying of Brenton.
Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, says a pool of potential jurors was brought to the courthouse Friday. Opening statements in Monfort’s trial aren’t expected until early January, according to The Associated Press.
Brenton, 39, and Britt Sweeney, a rookie officer, were in their parked patrol car in the Leschi neighborhood on Oct. 31, 2009, when Monfort pulled up alongside and opened fire, according to police. Authorities say Monfort had intentionally targeted the officers.
According to prosecutors, the shooting came nine days after Monfort firebombed four police vehicles at a city maintenance yard. Police said one of the makeshift bombs was set to go off as police and firefighters arrived to investigate the initial blasts.
A note left behind at the arson railed against police brutality, police said.
On Nov. 6, 2009, the day of Brenton’s memorial service, detectives went to a Tukwila apartment complex after a tipster reported seeing the gunman’s car in the parking lot.
Monfort pulled out a handgun and pointed it at police, but the weapon misfired, according to prosecutors. Monfort was shot in the face and abdomen when he tried to flee, they said. He was left paralyzed from the waist down. His right eye is half-closed, possibly from a bullet wound to his face.
Monfort is also charged with the firebombing and two additional counts of attempted first-degree murder — for pointing a gun at police before he was shot and for allegedly trying to kill officers at the scene of the firebombing.