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Arraignment may be delayed again in killing

SEATTLE — The arraignment will likely be postponed again for the man accused of killing a Seattle police officer.

A spokesman for the King County prosecutor’s office says it will ask today for another court date on Dec. 8 for Christopher Monfort, assuming he’s out of a hospital by then. The 41-year-old Tukwila man was wounded in a Nov. 6 confrontation with officers.

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said Monday he’s in satisfactory condition.

The arraignment was previously delayed and had been set for Tuesday.

Monfort is charged with aggravated murder in the Halloween shooting of Officer Timothy Brenton of Marysville. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg will decide whether to seek the death penalty.

Arraignment today in arson spree case

The arraignment is set for today for the homeless man accused of an arson spree in the north Seattle Greenwood neighborhood.

King County prosecutors filed 11 counts of arson and one count of burglary against Kevin Swalwell on Nov. 17. Prosecutors say they’ll seek a sentence of more than 30 years for the 46-year-old if he is convicted.

Swalwell has been convicted of arson six times in the past and was under community supervision by the state Department of Corrections during a series of fires this fall in the Greenwood neighborhood. He was arrested Nov. 13 near a burning vacant building in Shoreline.

Court papers said Swalwell told detectives he started the fires with cardboard boxes, newspaper and clothing.

Mount Vernon: Killer sentenced to life in custody

A man who killed six people, including a Skagit County sheriff’s deputy, has been sentenced in Mount Vernon to spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital or prison.

The sentence handed down Monday by Superior Court Judge Michael Rickert was the only one possible after Isaac Zamora pleaded guilty Nov. 17 to aggravated murder. Prosecutor Rich Weyrich did not seek the death penalty.

The Skagit Valley Herald reported the 29-year-old Zamora will be sent to a mental hospital, and, if ever released, to prison without the chance of parole.

Zamora went on a spree Sept. 2, 2008, and killed neighbors in Alger, construction workers, a driver on Interstate 5, and Deputy Anne Jackson. He wounded four others.

He said he killed for god.

Lawsuit filed by immigrant settled

An illegal immigrant has received $48,000 from the federal government to settle a lawsuit that alleged he was assaulted and illegally arrested by two U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents in Mount Vernon.

The Seattle Times reported that the lawsuit filed on behalf of Isabel Valencia-Perez was settled by U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors.

The FBI began a civil-rights investigation into the June 12, 2006, incident, looking into allegations of excessive force and that customs agents had set a high bail for Valencia-Perez and tried to have him quickly deported to Mexico. Ultimately, no charges were filed against the agents or Valencia-Perez.

Valencia-Perez’ attorney says the Department of Homeland Security later dropped efforts to deport him and that he and his family remain in the U.S.

Redmond: 20 closures on S.R. 520 this month

The Washington Department of Transportation is warning that State Route 520 between Lake Washington and Redmond will be closed 20 times in December for construction.

The department said the closures on the heavily traveled highway in Seattle’s eastern suburbs will all be at night. But it says that still can mean delays or detours for nighttime holiday shoppers.

Three major projects are under way on the route, including a freeway overpass being built in Redmond.

Olympia: State adopts 7.6 percent workers’ compensation rate hike

Workers’ compensation rates will climb by an average of 7.6 percent next year under changes adopted by state officials.

State Labor and Industries Director Judy Schurke said the rate hike will raise about $117 million for the state-run insurance program, which pays lost wages, medical bills and pensions for injured workers.

Schurke said she wanted to keep the rate as low as possible because of the slow economy. But she says the increase will ensure the state will be able to pay its obligations.

Republican lawmakers have said the rate hike is too high for struggling businesses. They’ve called for reforms to help keep costs down.

Saturna, B.C.: Canada float plane crash kills 6, including baby

A float plane crashed off Canada’s inland coast, killing six people, including a Vancouver doctor and her six month-old baby, as well as two American residents. Two people on board survived.

The Dehavilland Beaver aircraft went down Sunday during takeoff in Lyall Harbour, off Saturna Island in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands — about 50 miles south of Vancouver.

Only two of the eight on board — the pilot and a female passenger — were rescued within minutes of the crash and both are expected to survive, although one has serious injuries, the other is listed in stable condition. Bill Yearwood of Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said investigators are hoping the pilot can tell them what went wrong.

A float plane is an aircraft equipped with pontoons for water landings.

Coast guard spokesman Troy Haddock said divers recovered the bodies of six people who were trapped in the plane which sank in 36 feet of water, moments after going down.

James White heard the crash and rushed to his boat to look for survivors, but while he got into Lyall Harbour within minutes, the plane had already slipped beneath the water.

“There was no sign of anybody else or any other debris from the aircraft so I think it probably sank pretty fast,” White said.

He found a woman and the pilot close together in the water, both conscious and begging for help. White couldn’t pull the two of them into his boat on his own, so he tied them to the side of his vessel for a few minutes until other boats came to help.

Captain Bob Evans at the Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Victoria said officials searched for seven hours before finding the plane and recovering the victims.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have identified the victims as 41-year-old Vancouver doctor Kerry Margaret Morrissey, her baby Sarah, 55-year-old Catherine White-Holman of Vancouver and 60-year-old Thomas Gordon Glenn of White Rock, British Columbia.

The two American residents were Cindy Shafer, 44, and Richard Bruce Haskett, 49, of Huntington Beach, Calif.
From Herald news services

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