Suspect allegedly stabs his third defense attorney

EVERETT — Joshua Monson has run out of lawyers.

Monson, 28, already charged with attacking two defense attorneys, allegedly stabbed his third attorney Tuesday.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge David Kurtz refused to declare a second mistrial. Instead, the judge ruled Monson has forfeited his right to be represented by counsel because of his courtroom behavior. The judge cited case law. He told Monson he’s on his own in a trial on a felony drug charge.

Kurtz also ordered Monson to be strapped down in a special chair during the rest of the trial.

Earlier this week, Kurtz ruled that Monson would not have access to any writing utensils, including rubber pencils or pens. He is accused of smuggling pencils from the jail earlier this year and stabbing two lawyers.

Monson on Tuesday allegedly attacked Jesse Cantor with the Everett defense attorney’s own pen.

Witnesses reported seeing Monson reach across the table, grab the pen and stab Cantor in the left side of the head. Cantor was not seriously injured.

The incident happened as jurors were listening to a prosecutor’s opening statements.

Edmonds Community College students Jody Watson and Anna Dorati were in the courtroom to attend a hearing for an introductory law class.

Watson said she hit the floor once the commotion started.

Dorati said she saw Monson reach across the table, grab Cantor’s pen and lunge at the lawyer. It looked as if Monson was trying to stab Cantor in the neck, but instead scratched Cantor’s temple, she said.

“It was real dramatic,” Watson said.

Arlington police Officer Michael Sargent was seated at the prosecution’s table and caught the movement out of the corner of his eye. He grabbed Monson’s arm and swept the man’s leg. Snohomish County corrections officers also jumped to action, dog-piling on Monson.

The moment the officers saw Monson move toward the pen, they also activated an electric stun cuff that Monson was wearing on his leg, according to witnesses.

Kurtz on Monday ordered Monson be fitted with the device during the trial. Monson is charged with possession of methamphetamine. Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Christo Sedgewick had argued that Monson also should be forced to wear leather restraints around his ankles.

Cantor opposed the restraints. He argued that if a juror saw the shackles that could jeopardize Monson’s right to a fair trial.

“Mr. Monson is sitting a foot from me. Leg restraints are not going to add anything,” Cantor said Monday. The lawyer said his client had promised to behave.

At the time, Kurtz sided with Cantor.

After Tuesday’s violence, Kurtz agreed that Monson should be restrained throughout the trial.

Monson said he was worried about the jury seeing him strapped into a restraint chair.

“How can they fairly judge me when they see me in a chair like this?” he asked.

Tuesday’s courtroom scuffle left Monson’s purple dress shirt rumpled and his once slicked-back hair standing on end.

Kurtz advised jurors to ignore the restraints. The judge also ordered the jury to disregard the incident involving Cantor’s pen, and the defense attorney’s sudden absence.

Monson is expected to be back in court this morning.

State doctors have concluded that Monson is competent to stand trial.

His mental state was called into question after he attacked his first attorney. The incident happened in May at the start of his initial trial on the drug charge. He was given a new lawyer. Within days, he allegedly attacked that man during a court hearing. The lawyers were not seriously hurt. Monson been charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault for the attorney stabbings. He also is accused of assaulting two corrections officers.

That is in addition to a second-degree murder charge connected to the Jan. 2 shooting of Brian Jones, 30, who was killed while talking on a cellphone in a south Everett apartment.

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

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