Accused pencil-stabber guilty of murder

EVERETT — Seconds after a Snohomish County jury convicted Joshua Monson of first-degree murder on Wednesday, corrections officers swiftly moved in to shackle his one free hand to a chair.

Monson, 28, didn’t resist.

He faces more than 50 years in prison for the shooting death of Brian Jones, 30 on Jan. 2, 2011.

Jurors were told that Monson shot Jones, of Everett, in the back of the head at close range as Jones talked on a cellphone. In the hours leading up to the shooting, the men had been smoking methamphetamine in a south Everett apartment.

Some witnesses believed there was bad blood between the two over a woman.

Monson, who took the stand earlier this week, denied shooting Jones.

Prosecutors accused Monson of planning the fatal shooting. A couple of days before the homicide, Monson asked a woman if he could “waste” someone in her apartment. And Monson’s DNA was found on the murder weapon.

In addition to premeditated murder, jurors were asked to consider the lesser charge of second-degree murder. Deliberations started Tuesday afternoon.

The slain man’s family could be heard sobbing after the clerk read the verdict. They’d been waiting more than a year for the case to go to trial.

There had been numerous delays, in part because of Monson’s courtroom behavior. He is accused of stabbing three of his former attorneys – two with smuggled pencils and a third with the attorney’s own pen.*

Monson ended up representing himself last year in a felony drug trial after he allegedly stabbed his third attorney in front of jurors. He also is accused of attacking a handful of corrections officers since being booked into the county jail.

Prosecutors asked for extra security measures during the murder trial.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Larry McKeeman agreed to have Monson restrained. The defendant was strapped to a chair and his right hand was shackled during the two-week trial. He also sat apart from his lawyer, Walter Peale.

Courtroom furniture was rearranged to keep the restraints out of the sight of jurors. The jury also didn’t hear about his attacks on his lawyers.

Before the verdict was read, Monson shook his attorney’s hand, thanking him. During the exchange, a corrections officer kept a firm grip on Monson’s forearm.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

Correction, May 10, 2012: The number of lawyers Monson is accused of stabbing was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

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