Murder suspect gets new lawyer after first attorney is stabbed with a pencil

EVERETT — An Everett murder suspect was assigned a new lawyer Thursday after he allegedly stabbed his first attorney in the neck with a pencil during a court hearing earlier this week.

Joshua Monson, 27, is expected to be back in court Friday for a motion to stay his criminal cases so he can be evaluated at Western State Hospital.

Everett attorney Tom Cox filed the motion on Monson’s behalf. The longtime defense attorney wasn’t allowed to argue for the delay Thursday after telling the judge he had to withdraw as Monson’s attorney because of a direct conflict of interest.

He explained that Monson’s ability to assist in his own defense had been compromised.

Monson allegedly stabbed Cox in the neck with a jailhouse pencil during jury selection for a 2010 drug case.

County corrections officers piled on Monson and wrestled him to the ground in front of about 30 potential jurors. The courtroom was treated like a crime scene and sheriff’s deputies took statements from more than a dozen witnesses. Jurors eventually were sent home.

Cox was not seriously injured.

The attorney told reporters that he had no indication that Monson was upset or angry at him.

“I had a great relationship with Mr. Monson,” Cox said. “I don’t understand what happened. I don’t think he does either.”

Cox also represented Monson in a separate murder case. Monson is accused of shooting Brian Jones in the head in January in a south Everett apartment. Witnesses told detectives that Monson and Jones were rivals because of their mutual interest in Jones’ girlfriend. One witness said that Monson just snapped before the shot was fired.

Monson doesn’t remember Monday’s incident, Cox said. He met with Monson for about 45 minutes at the jail Wednesday. They spoke briefly at Thursday’s hearing.

Cox said he would have continued to represent Monson but decided to step down after consulting with the bar association. If he stayed on and Monson was convicted, Monday’s incident could be viewed as grounds for an appeal. The defendant could argue that he had ineffective assistance of counsel based on an adversarial relationship.

A corrections officer stood between Monson and Cox during Thursday’s hearing.

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

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