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Insanity defense pursued in Washington murder case

In order to successfully pursue an insanity defense, it must be proven that an individual did not know right from wrong at the time a crime was committed. Generally, a person who is found not guilty by reason of insanity is placed in a mental hospital for treatment.

One Washington man is accused of shooting two police officers in 2009. One of the officers died, the other was wounded. The accused in this case has been charged with aggravated murder and attempted first-degree murder. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.

The man's lawyers, however, have chosen to pursue an insanity defense. His trial is scheduled to begin later this year, but before then he will be examined by mental-health professionals in order to determine what his mental state was at the time of the shooting.

"We need to look into every possible defense," the man's defense attorney said. "This is one that is accurate with the facts of the case."

Prosecutors allege that the man in this case specifically targeted the police officers. They claim that the officers were ambushed as they sat in their parked patrol car.

The man faces additional criminal charges for allegedly firebombing four police cars a little more than a week before the shooting took place.

It is unclear how this specific case will turn out. However, it shows that there are a variety of options for accused individuals and their defense attorneys to pursue. When someone in Washington is accused of committing a serious crime they would be wise to work with an experienced attorney who can determine the best defense strategy based on the specifics in a particular case.

Source: The Seattle Times, "Monfort to use insanity plea in SPD officer's killing," Jennifer Sullivan, Feb. 4, 2013

Our firm handles cases in which people have been charged with serious crimes. To learn more, please visit our Spokane criminal defense page.

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