A King County jury began hearing testimony Monday about the six loaded firearms, four pipe bombs and hundreds of rounds of ammunition found inside the cluttered, fourth-floor apartment belonging to Christopher Monfort, who is accused of gunning down a Seattle cop in 2009.
Jurors got their first glimpse Monday of evidence taken from inside Christopher Monfort’s Tukwila apartment, including the assault-style rifle he is accused of using to gun down a Seattle police officer on Halloween night 2009.
The .223-caliber Kel-Tec rifle was one of six loaded firearms found in Monfort’s fourth-floor unit, along with four pipe bombs and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to two Seattle police detectives who testified Monday.
Since Monfort’s trial for aggravated-first-degree murder started on Jan. 20, the jury has heard testimony about pipe bombs Monfort is accused of detonating at a city maintenance yard and the fire that destroyed police vehicles on Oct. 22, 2009.
They’ve also heard from numerous law-enforcement officers and other witnesses about the fatal ambush of Officer Tim Brenton, who was seated in his patrol car with a then-rookie officer on Oct. 31, 2009, when a gunman opened fire in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood.
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Most recently, the jury has heard testimony about what led investigators to Monfort’s apartment complex and the aftermath of a confrontation with police that left Monfort paralyzed below the waist.
Three members of the Seattle Police Department’s homicide unit have testified that they went to Monfort’s apartment complex six days after Brenton was killed to follow up on a tip about a Datsun 210 — one of three vehicles registered to Monfort and the kind of car used by the gunman in Brenton’s killing.
Additional testimony revolved around an allegation that Monfort tried to shoot a homicide sergeant but failed to chamber a round in his 9-mm Glock pistol. Monfort was then shot in the stomach and face as he ran along a breezeway toward his apartment door, pointing his handgun at a homicide detective and two sergeants in the parking lot below, the jury has been told.
Monday’s introduction of evidence found inside Monfort’s apartment signaled the beginning of the final phase of the state’s case against Monfort, 46.
So far, 300 exhibits, including numerous photos, have been admitted as evidence.
Monfort has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to five felony charges, including aggravated first-degree murder, the only charge for which death is a possible penalty.
Detective Donna O’Neal, who is assigned to SPD’s arson and bomb unit, said Monday she unlocked Monfort’s front door using a key from his apartment manager.
She cracked the door open and a robot was sent inside to scan the interior for any people or booby traps, O’Neal said. The robot detected three improvised explosive devices in the living room — duct-taped cylinders with nails and hobby fuses attached — but the robot fell over before getting any farther, she said.
A SWAT team was then sent inside to sweep for suspects, followed by O’Neal and another bomb detective who found the fourth pipe bomb on the stove, its fuse laid across a front burner.
The devices were removed from the apartment and later destroyed, she said.
Detective Don Ledbetter, a member of the department’s crime-scene investigations (CSI) unit, described the apartment’s floor plan and the locations where police found several firearms, including the Kel-Tec rifle, which was leaned against a stack of tires at the entrance to the living room.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Baird opened a cardboard evidence box and showed jurors the rifle.
Though it wasn’t explicitly identified as the murder weapon on Monday, jurors have previously heard that Brenton, 39, was killed with the same kind of firearm. Other rifles were recovered from Monfort’s apartment, but none of them were of the same make.
A 12-gauge shotgun was also propped against the tires, with shotgun shells and numerous rounds of .223-caliber ammunition found in plastic grocery sacks and a cardboard box on the floor nearby. At least four magazines loaded with .223-caliber rounds were also found on the floor.
Also in the living room, on top of a punching bag, police found a large hunting knife similar to one that was plunged into the roof of a patrol car at the Charles Street maintenance yard two weeks earlier.
Fliers decrying police brutality were also left at the maintenance yard — and on Monday jurors saw copies of the same fliers that were found in a printer tray inside Monfort’s apartment.
At the end of the small, galley kitchen, one rifle was propped against the oven, another rested against the opposite counter, and a .45-caliber handgun was found on the countertop next to the sink, along with additional ammo.
Four copies of a pocket-size Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were fanned out on another counter and were identical to a booklet found in Monfort’s pocket after he was shot.
In Monfort’s bedroom, a large American flag was laid out over the pastel-colored bedspread, and portraits of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Che Guevara decorated the walls. In the closet, police found a rifle equipped with a folding bayonet.
A repair manual for a Datsun 210 was located in a pile of items on Monfort’s balcony, the jury heard.
Ledbetter’s testimony will continue Tuesday.