Friday, March 12, 2010

Alleged cop killer launches into tirade in court


The man accused of murdering Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton launched a verbal barrage in court Thursday afternoon, stunning spectators and apparently even his own lawyer.

Christopher Monfort, accused of killing Brenton in cold blood on Oct. 31, lashed out against Paul Schene, the former King County deputy accused in a well-publicized November 2008 holding cell beating incident.

In his outburst, Monfort compared Schene to Adolf Hitler, and then referred to "the savage beating of Malika Calhoun," the teenage girl who was beaten in the holding cell incident.

Investigators believe that the holding cell beating, which was captured on videotape and broadcast widely across TV and the Internet, prompted Monfort's attack on Officer Brenton and his partner.

Monfort then launched into a rambling rant about the founding fathers and "the price of freedom."

Monfort's defense attorney, Julie Lawry, urged him to keep quiet.

"Don't do this, don't do this," she repeated at the start of his nearly eight-minute outburst, but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

All of this happened before the judge walked in - and before court started. Once the judge entered the courtroom, Monfort did not speak again.

Meanwhile, the accused killer's mother sat in the King County courtroom with her head in her hands.

Monfort has been charged with one count of aggravated first-degree murder in connection with Brenton's shooting death on Halloween night as he sat in his patrol car with a junior officer.

He also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly shooting at the junior officer on the same night, and also taking aim at two other officers on the day of his arrest.

In addition, Monfort is charged with first-degree arson in connection with the Oct. 22 firebombing of four Seattle police vehicles at a city maintenance yard.

Monfort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shotgun-toting man threatens father at school bus stop


A scary scene unfolded at a school bus stop on Fox Island when a man with a gun threatened a father as he dropped off his son and then tried to run him off, the father says.

And the father, Mark Fowler, has got the photo to back him up his account of what happened.

Fowler says he was on the public easement - well outside anyone's private property - when he parked his car at the bus stop to drop off his son.

That's when he says a neighbor came out and threatened him with a shotgun.

Despite the possible danger, Fowler snapped a photo of the man with his cell phone. The photo shows the man gripping the shotgun in his right hand.

Cell phone photo shows a man approaching the Fox Island school bus stop with a shotgun. Fowler says: "I ask him what he's going to do with it. And he tells me if I don't get off his property, he's going to show me what he's going to do with it. Now, that sounds like a threat to me."

Pierce County sheriff's detectives say the man in the photo is Kevin Wray, whose house is behind the bus stop.

Fowler says if he's going to be threatened - what could Wray do to his son or to the other children who wait at the stop for the school bus to come.

"Why would anybody in their right mind bring a shotgun to a bus stop if they're not planning on trying to intimidate somebody, or plan on using it?" says Fowler.

Deputies showed up and arrested Wray, who got out on bond later that day.

KOMO News tried to contact Wray but he didn't answer his door or return phone calls.

Wray's next-door neighbor, Hank Weber, thinks things just got out of hand.

"I don't think anybody around here condones that," Weber says. "And I'm sure, if you asked Kevin right now, I'm sure he would say that was a bad mistake."

Weber says parents dropping off their kids do a lot of damage along the private road where Wray lives.

He says they use front lawns as turnarounds, which rips up the grass and damages landscaping - and Wray has spent years trying to change it.

"I think Kevin has tried in the past to be as cordial as possible, and has in a lot of instances not gotten anywhere," says Weber.

Since the shotgun incident, the school district has created alternative bus stop locations so parents who don't feel safe using the one near Wray's house have somewhere else to go.