Murder defendant to be restrained during trial
Leather cuffs and a stun cuff will be used on Joshua Monson, who is accused of stabbing attorneys with pencils.
Joshua Monson, 28, also will be made to wear an electric stun cuff that corrections officers can activate if he gets out of line. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Larry McKeeman found good cause to have Monson restrained during the upcoming trial. On Friday, the judge and lawyers ironed out what kind of restraints will be used.
Prosecutors and jail staff wanted Monson's movements restricted. His attorney wanted to make sure that the jury couldn't see the restraints.
McKeeman agreed that the special chair Monson has been strapped to during pretrial hearings was too conspicuous. The judge will allow restraints that can be hidden under Monson's clothes. The defendant also will essentially be seat-belted to an office chair.
The lawyers on Friday also detailed how they might rearrange the courtroom furniture to better hide the restraints from jurors. McKeeman told the attorneys he didn't expect that he'd order lawyers, staff and spectators to stand when jurors enter the courtroom, as is customary, since Monson won't be able to rise.
Prosecutors asked for the extra security measures because Monson is accused of stabbing three of his attorneys with smuggled pencils and one lawyer with the attorney's own pen.
Last year, Monson forfeited his right to an attorney during a felony drug trial because of his courtroom behavior. He'd been accused of grabbing his attorney's pen and stabbing him in the head as the prosecutor began delivering his opening statement. The judge declined to declare a mistrial.
Instead, Monson was forced to represent himself and was restrained to a chair during the remainder of the trial.
Monson also is accused of assaulting a handful of corrections officers at the jail during his year in custody.
The latest attack allegedly happened in early February while Monson was meeting with his fourth attorney at the jail. One of his hands was unrestrained to sign some paperwork. Witnesses said Monson punched a corrections sergeant in the face.
The sergeant wasn't seriously hurt.
Monson is charged with first-degree murder with a firearm. He initially was charged with second-degree murder in connection with a Jan. 2, 2011, shooting.
An unarmed Brian Jones, 30, was talking on a cellphone when he was shot in the back of the head at close range, according to court documents. A witness reportedly told detectives that Monson admitted that he killed Jones, court papers say. Other witnesses said that there may have been bad blood between the two because of a woman.
The trial is scheduled to begin April 23.
The defendant's attorney, Walter Peale advised the judge he likely will need more time. He told McKeeman that he potentially has uncovered valuable evidence. There may be a drop of blood on a pizza box that could help determine where the shooter was standing, Peale said. His expert needs to analyze the box.
McKeeman said he'll decide next week if they need to reschedule the trial.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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