Pierce County News Release
TACOMA, WA – Tuesday the Washington State Court of Appeals affirmed four Aggravated Murder convictions for Darcus Allen, 42. In June 2011, Allen was sentenced to 420 years in prison for his involvement in the shooting deaths of four Lakewood Police officers on November 29, 2009.
Seven defendants were prosecuted for aiding Clemmons before and after he murdered Lakewood Police Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Gregory Richards. “While there is pain in the memory of the four fallen officers, we take satisfaction in justice, which was done here,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “The individuals who assisted Clemmons were held accountable. Defendant Allen, as an accomplice and getaway driver, was by far the most culpable and he is therefore serving the greatest sentence.”
A jury convicted Allen of four counts of Aggravated Murder in the First Degree on May 19, 2011 after a lengthy and sometimes emotional trial. The jury found that the victims were police officers, an aggravating factor, which allowed prosecutors to ask for a sentence beyond the standard range.
Allen appealed his conviction, arguing that the deputy prosecutor misstated the legal definition of “knowledge” when he accused Allen of knowing that Clemmons was going to murder the officers. The Court of Appeals found that there was sufficient evidence Allen knew his actions were furthering Clemmons’ crimes and that statements by the deputy prosecutor, when considered in context, did not prejudice the trial’s outcome.
Clemmons ambushed the officers at a Forza Coffee shop in Parkland. The officers, in full uniform, had gathered at the coffee shop to have breakfast while they wrote reports. Sgt. Renninger and Officer Griswold were both shot in the head with no warning. Officer Owens was shot in the ensuing fight. Officer Richards engaged Clemmons and shot him in the torso, but Clemmons wrestled away the officer’s service weapon and then shot and killed Richards.
Allen drove Clemmons to the area and waited at a car wash while Clemmons went inside the coffee shop. Afterward, Allen drove Clemmons away from the scene. A two-day manhunt followed, ending with a Seattle Police officer shooting and killing Clemmons after Clemmons approached him on a dark city street. Officer Richards’ stolen gun was found on Clemmons.
In 2011, Letrecia Nelson, Quiana Williams, Douglas Davis, Eddie Davis and LaTanya Clemmons, friends and family of Maurice Clemmons, were convicted and received sentences ranging from five to ten years in prison. They were charged for aiding Clemmons and for unlawful possession of firearms. Three days before the murders, Clemmons told many of them that he planned to kill police officers. After killing the officers, he turned to them for help in evading capture.