Officials at the Washington State Crime Lab are reviewing whether evidence in the fatal shooting of a Seattle police officer was damaged in a small flood in an evidence storage area yesterday afternoon.
Earlier today, the Washington State Crime Lab provided law enforcement agencies around the state with a list of cases which may have been compromised when a sprinkler pipe in an evidence vault freezer malfunctioned, covering the vault in two to three inches of water.
State crime lab director Jim Tarver characterized the flooding as “water exposure, not damage,” but admits his staff aren’t yet sure of the extent of the damage. “It is likely that some items were not damaged with regard to forensic analysis. It is likely that some were,” Tarver said.
One case potentially impacted by the flooding is the trial of Christopher Monfort, who is accused of fatally shooting Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton and wounding his partner on Halloween 2009.
It appears several pieces of evidence in the case were stored in the freezer vault.
More as this develops.
Update: King County Prosecutor’s Office Spokesman Dan Donohoe says the evidence in the Monfort trial has been tested, and it appears the flooding will not have an impact on the case.