Matt Brenton was in court almost every day during the nearly four months it took to try Christopher Monfort. But he was deliberately absent when Seattle police officers testified about the fatal shooting that killed his older brother, Officer Timothy Brenton.

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Matt Brenton was in court almost every day during the nearly four months it took to try Christopher Monfort. But he was deliberately absent when Seattle police officers testified about the fatal shooting that killed his older brother, Officer Timothy Brenton.

“It was way too painful,” he said of his decision not to hear details of how Monfort pulled up alongside Brenton’s patrol car and fired a .223 Kel-Tec rifle into the vehicle, striking the 39-year-old officer multiple times in the head on Halloween night 2009.

Matt Brenton, his mom, Penny, and younger sister, Betsy, were all in court Friday when a King County jury convicted Monfort, 46, of aggravated first-degree murder, a verdict that now sets the stage for the same jurors to decide if Monfort should spend the rest of his life in prison or be sent to death row.

“I’m relieved,” he said of the guilty verdict and the jury’s rejection of Monfort’s insanity defense. “We still have the penalty phase to go through, so it’s not completely done for us.”

But Brenton doesn’t plan to be in court much during the trial’s penalty phase, in which jurors will hear testimony about Monfort’s background and upbringing in a bid to spare him from facing a death sentence.

The penalty phase is to begin June 16.

While Monfort’s defense team plans to call 47 witnesses, Brenton will be the only witness to provide what is known as victim-impact testimony. That’s because under state law, the prosecution is only allowed to call one witness per victim to testify about the impact that person’s death had on loved ones left behind.

“I want to get the penalty phase done with. This has been part of our lives for six years,” Brenton said, adding he has no interest in hearing Monfort’s “sob story.”

In addition to aggravated murder, the jury also found Monfort guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree murder for trying to kill Brenton’s partner and, later, a homicide sergeant investigating Brenton’s death.

He was also convicted of first-degree arson for setting a fire and detonating pipe bombs that destroyed a handful of police vehicles at the city’s Charles Street maintenance yard nine days before Brenton was killed.

But the jury found him not guilty of attempted first-degree murder for what prosecutors argued was his intent to kill officers responding to the fire scene.

Monfort had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all five felony charges.

“I do feel bad for the officer,” Monfort told KING 5 Friday, as guards escorted him from the courtroom in his wheelchair.

“I’m sorry for the family’s loss and the mother and the children.”

After the jury delivered its verdict, Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler denied a defense motion to acquit Monfort on the basis of insanity.

The jury of six men and six women began deliberations Monday morning after hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses, with the last two months of the trial focused on Monfort’s mental state when he waged what prosecutors called a one-man war against the Seattle Police Department.

Brenton’s position as a police officer performing his official duties is the aggravating factor that qualified Monfort for the potential death penalty.

Jurors reached their verdict late Thursday afternoon, but it wasn’t read in court until Friday morning before a packed courtroom that included Brenton’s family members, Monfort’s mother and several Seattle police officers.

Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, who was also in court Friday morning, said, “After 5½ years, I am extremely pleased that justice has finally been served for my fallen brother, Officer Tim Brenton, as well as Officer Britt Kelly and Sgt. Gary Nelson.

“I am extremely grateful to the men and women of the jury,” he said.

Kessler made his ruling on the defense motion to acquit on Monday, but he sealed his decision in an envelope to avoid the possibility of “publicity taint” while jurors deliberated.

After the jury filed out of his courtroom, Kessler read his ruling aloud, noting that experts retained by the state and defense disputed Monfort’s diagnosis. While the defense’s expert diagnosed Monfort with a delusional disorder, the state’s expert diagnosed him with personality disorders.

Kessler ruled that while the defense proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Monfort suffers from a mental disease or defect — and believed killing random police officers would halt instances of police brutality — Monfort “no doubt” knew his actions violated criminal law.

The judge found the defense did not prove Monfort suffered from a delusional disorder, but said he believes Monfort did have personality disorders.

“Mr. Monfort’s mental disease or defect did not affect his mind to such an extent that he was unable to distinguish right from wrong,” Kessler said.

“Mr. Monfort chose to believe that the Constitution of the United States trumped state laws prohibiting murder, arson and attempted murder,” he said, referring to Montfort’s belief his actions were justified by the Constitution.

“He was wrong.”

Attempting to deter police misconduct “is not a legal defense or excuse” for his crimes, Kessler said.

From the outset of the trial, the defense did not dispute Monfort was guilty of killing Brenton and trying to kill Kelly and Nelson. But they argued he was and remains mentally ill, suffering from a delusional disorder.

His attorneys claimed Monfort believed if enough police officers were randomly killed, the deaths would put an end to police brutality.

Monfort’s insanity defense was vigorously challenged by the state, with prosecutors arguing Monfort was an extremist who was sane and knew his actions were wrong, but just didn’t care.

Monfort was accused of setting fire to police vehicles and detonating pipe bombs at the city’s Charles Street maintenance yard on Oct. 22, 2009, rigging the makeshift explosives to go off as officers responded to the scene, according to charging documents.

Nine days later, on Oct. 31, Monfort stalked and ambushed Brenton and his then-rookie partner Britt Kelly (née Sweeney) as they sat in a patrol car on a quiet residential street in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood.

Brenton was killed instantly and Kelly suffered a minor wound.

Jurors heard Monfort had planned to fire on officers responding to the Charles Street scene from a sniper’s perch under a freeway overpass, but was forced to flee after he was spotted by a city worker.

Monfort told the defense psychologist he was disappointed he failed to kill any police officers at the maintenance yard, and, later, that he failed to kill Kelly, who managed to duck the rounds that struck Brenton as he sat in the patrol car’s front passenger seat, a cup of coffee in his hand, the jury heard.

The state presented overwhelming evidence of Monfort’s guilt — including DNA and ballistics — in connection with Brenton’s death.

DNA found on an American flag bandanna left at the shooting scene matched DNA on an American flag that was impaled into the roof of a patrol car at the Charles Street facility.

The .223 Kel-Tec rifle used to kill Brenton was later found inside Monfort’s Tukwila apartment, which was stockpiled with weapons and explosives in what prosecutors claimed was his anticipation of a final firefight with police. But Monfort was shot and wounded on the breezeway outside his unit on Nov. 6, 2009, by Seattle homicide detectives investigating Brenton’s death.

The officers were there following up on a tip about a Datsun 210 Monfort owned — the same type of vehicle captured by Brenton’s in-car video camera and then by responding patrol vehicles as Monfort fled the Leschi shooting scene.

According to testimony at trial, Monfort tried to shoot Seattle police Sgt. Gary Nelson in the head, but his handgun failed to fire because a round hadn’t been chambered. The police shooting left Monfort paralyzed below the waist.

Monfort was shot just as hundreds of people were preparing to leave a memorial service for Brenton at Seattle’s KeyArena.