Man accused of Seattle Police killing pleads not guilty

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by KYLE MOORE / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 14, 2009 at 9:12 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 14 at 6:13 PM

SEATTLE - The man accused of killing a Seattle police officer on Monday pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder, attempted murder and arson charges.

Security was tight as deputies prepared for the high profile arraignment of Christopher Monfort.

Seattle police officers lined the hallway outside of a 12th floor courtroom hoping to catch their first look at the man who prosecutors say waged a one man war against the seattle police department.

Seated in the front row of court was Lisa Brenton, the widow of slain seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton.

Sitting right beside the Brenton family was the mother and relatives of Monfort.

This is the first time we have seen Christopher Monfort since his Nov. 6 arrest outside of his Tukwila apartment.

This is also the first time Lisa Brenton has come face to face with the man accused of killing her husband.

"My husband is not here anymore to protect and defend his family. However, we, the Brenton family, are here to protect and defend his memory," she said.

Officer Brenton was shot and killed on Halloween night near Seattle's Leschi neighborhood while training fellow officer Britt Sweeney.

Officer Sweeney, who survived the gun assault, stood up as Monfort was led into court.

Monfort is charged with five counts including arson, aggravated murder, and three counts of attempted murder including the firing of a weapon at Seattle Sgt.Gary Nelson, who also showed up for the arraignment.

Outside of court, Monfort's mother Suzan offered condolences to the Brenton family.

"Heartbroken for the families. Heartbroken for the families. Heartbroken for my son. It's a tragedy," she said.

Officer Brenton's widow referred to the recent murders of four Lakewood Police officers, saying justice needs to take place

"From the family of the one to the family of the four. these deaths are not going to be tolerated," she said.

Monfort is charged with aggravated first degree murder in the killing of Ofc. Timothy Brenton and attempted first-degree murder for the shooting of Brenton's rookie partner, Ofc. Britt Sweeney.

Monfort is also charged with arson and attempted first-degree murder for a firebombing at a City of Seattle maintenance yard, in which Satterberg said Monfort was planning to kill police.

He also faces attempted first-degree murder for attempting to shoot an officer who was pursuing him the day he was arrested outside his Tukwila apartment.

Monfort's next court date is set for Jan. 11.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg has 30 days to decide whether or not to seek the death penalty in the case. That could be extended if defense attorneys ask for more time to prepare their case.

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