BY JEREMY PAWLOSKI
October 01, 2009
OLYMPIA - Olympia mixed martial arts champion Jeff Monson avoided
jail time during his sentencing today for spray-painting anarchist
graffiti on the state Capitol and a Lacey armed services recruitment
center last year.
Instead, Monson, 38, must serve 90 days of work release while on
electronic home monitoring, a punishment that will allow him to work
to pay off the $21,894 in restitution Thurston County Superior Court
Judge Gary Tabor also ordered as part of Monson's sentence.
Tabor followed the recommendation of Thurston County Deputy
Prosecuting Attorney David Bruneau during Monson's sentencing.
Monson pleaded guilty in July to first-degree malicious mischief and
second-degree malicious mischief for vandalizing the Capitol and the
armed services recruitment center as part of a plea deal in exchange
for the sentencing recommendation.
Monson's next bout is scheduled for Dec. 12 in Alabama, where he will
fight Travis Fulton.
During Thursday's court hearing, Bruneau noted that Monson admitted
to spray-painting an anarchist symbol on the Capitol in a December
2008 interview in ESPN The Magazine. Bruneau said according to the
article, Monson is a "self-proclaimed, avowed anarchist."
Monson's attorney, Legrand Jones said in court that he believes
Monson's sentence would not have been as harsh were it not for the
fact that his vandalism occurred as an act of political expression,
and if not for the fact that Monson is a celebrity in the world of
mixed martial arts. Monson, who appeared in court with his wife, has
no prior criminal record.
Jones said Monson's leaving an anarchist symbol and the words "no
war" on the Capitol in November was "an act of conscience."
"They were political acts," Jones said in court.
Monson said outside court that the vandalism he left at the
recruitment center on Galaxy Drive in Lacey in November shut the
center down for several days. Monson said he hopes that the closure
of the center might have been the time that a young man needed to
change his mind about joining the military.
"I'd like to think something good came of it," Monson said.
Monson was adamant that he hopes his acts of vandalism raised
consciousness of the illegality of the Iraq war and immorality of
sending soldiers off to die in what he said is an unjust war. He said
he does not regret what he did and he is not sorry for it. He added
that he agreed to the plea because "they have a gun to my head,"
speaking metaphorically about the possibility that his freedom could
be taken from him if he did not.
When Monson was asked if he would ever commit a similar act in the
future, he responded, "I don't know what's going to happen."