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Clemmons’ suspected getaway driver charged with murder in Lakewood officers’ deaths

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on March 2, 2010 at 10:29 am with 28 Comments »
March 2, 2010 1:24 pm
Darcus Allen makes a court appearance in December/News Tribune file photo

Pierce County prosecutors have charged an acquaintance of cop killer Maurice Clemmons with four counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths of four Lakewood police officers last year.

Darcus Allen, who is suspected of driving Clemmons to and from the scene of the deadly shooting, will be arraigned on the charges – the state’s only crime that carries a possible death sentence – at 3 p.m. today in Courtroom 260. The charges were filed this morning, according to Superior Court records.

Allen, 38, has been in custody since Dec. 1.

Clemmons, 37, walked into a Parkland Forza coffee shop the morning of Nov. 29 and gunned down Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens. The four had been preparing for the start of their work day. All four died at the scene.

A Seattle police officer shot and killed Clemmons less than 48 hours later during a confrontation near an abandoned, stolen vehicle on a residential street. Clemmons was armed with the gun of one of the slain officers.

In the days after the officers were killed, law enforcement officers arrested seven of Clemmons’ family members and friends.

Six of them have been charged with various counts of rendering criminal assistance. Prosecutors allege they gave money, transportation and medical aid to Clemmons, who was shot by officer Richards, in the hours after the shooting at Forza.

The four Lakewood officers killed Nov. 29 - (from left to right) Greg Richards, Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Mark Renninger.

Since his arrest in December, the 38-year-old Allen has been held on an Arkansas fugitive warrant as detectives investigated what he knew about Clemmons plans before the officers were killed and what he did afterward.

The Arkansas warrant charges Allen with robbery, theft and probation violations. Allen served time in an Arkansas prison after being convicted as an accomplice in a double murder 19 years ago.

Allen and Clemmons both served time in the Arkansas prison system. They spent as long as a month together in the 1990s in the same open barracks at two different units of the prison system, Arkansas corrections officials reported in December.

The open barracks are similar to military barracks. They house between 50 and 100 inmates, depending on the year and the prison.

UPDATE: According to charging documents just filed this morning, Allen knew Clemmons wanted to murder police officers and therefore was an accomplice to the crime.

Prosecutors contend that Clemmons made his plans known to Allen and others on Thanksgiving Day during a gathering at the home of Clemmons’ aunt.

At the time, Clemmons was wearing court-ordered ankle bracelet as a condition of his release from jail while awaiting trial on criminal charges. The bracelet alerted the bail bond company that posted his bail of his movements.

“He stated that he had or would cut off the ankle bracelet, luring police to his door, at which point he would shoot them,” prosecutors wrote in charging papers. “‘Knock, knock, knock, boom!'” he said, describing the planned murder.”

Clemmons also showed those gathered a gun he was carrying and said he had access to two others, the papers state.

The morning of the shooting, Clemmons allegedly drove a white pickup to Allen’s residence. Allen then drove the two of them past Forza, where they saw the marked patrol cars of Renninger, Griswold, Richards and Owens, the documents state.

Allen then turned around and drove back past the coffee shop and parked at a nearby car wash, according to the court records.

Clemmons then went Forza and opened fired on the Lakewood officers, being hit once himself when Richards fought him as he tried to flee.

Clemmons then returned to the car wash, where Allen drove him away, the documents state.

Witnesses told police it appeared that Allen was pretending to wash the pickup while Clemmons was in the coffee shop.

Allen and Clemmons sister, LaTanya Clemmons, later checked into a Federal Way motel under a false name and discussed buying Allen a ticket to Arkansas, according to court records.

Allen was arrested two days later and booked into jail on the outstanding warrants from Arkansas.

Allen first told police he and Clemmons only drove past Forza once, but video surveillance shows the truck coming back by the shop a second time, according to the court records.

Allen also told detectives he jumped out of the truck and ran when Clemmons returned from the coffee shop bleeding from a gunshot wound and that Clemmons drove the truck away, according to court records. Allen said he took the bus home.

“When the truck was recovered, however, there was blood noted on the passenger side, but none on the driver’s side,” prosecutors wrote in court records. “In addition, investigation revealed that no one matching Allen’s description took a bus from the location he described to his home, or anywhere near those locations.”

The charging papers conclude with this:

“Allen admitted to hearing Clemmons repeatedly talk about wanting to kill police officers. Allen also admitted to seeing the police cars outside the Forza, and he admitted to waiting at the car wash with Clemmons’ truck. While Allen waited there, Clemmons murdered the officers at the Forza.”

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. fivecardstud says:

    Thats six peoples lives he’s helped end. It’s time for him to go.

  2. tomas472 says:

    I am pleased to see the detailed investigation required has been done am glad that appropriate charges have been filed.

  3. the world will be better off when this guy joins clemmns the evil in his pit.

  4. LovelyLady says:

    YES I am soooooooooooooooo glad to hear this.

  5. bigelle37 says:

    He deserves capital punishment. I hope they make an example of him.

  6. jeffm209 says:

    When he eventually does walk the ‘last mile’, it’d be nice if the guards turn him around and make him walk it… four times

  7. footballscaa says:

    Wow, grab your torches and pitchforks. Lynching anyone? Don’t you have to actually kill someone to be charged with murder anymore? He didn’t kill anyone. Accessory to murder, yes. Capital murder, carrying the death penalty? I don’t think so. The man who committed that crime already has gotten the death penalty. The Pierce Cty Prosecutor should hope the people who sit on that jury think with their hearts and not their heads. And everyone crying for this guys head should hope I’m not sitting on that jury. Or they’ll be doing it again. Bad call by PCP made on emotion. Convict him for what he did, not what you you feel he did.

  8. footballscaa,

    Get off your bleeding heart cross. This man was on parole himself and drove a murderer from the scene. Like someone who just wanted to rob a 7 Eleven, but his partner shot and killed the clerk – well you get to share the murder charge.

    He might not get the death penalty, but he will most likely die behind bars with no future parole.

    Now if he had drove off and left Clemmons at the scene – and called the cops and helped capture the murderer, well that would be an entirely different story that might fit your puffed up sense of indignation.

  9. In my option this Allen guy is as much responsible for the killings as Clemmons, he was driving Clemmons, turned the car back around after seeing the police cars sitting there and dropped Clemmons fully know he wanted to kill officers. He may as well have helped pull the trigger himself.

    Part of the definition of first degree murder: (b) Under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life, he or she engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to any person, and thereby causes the death of a person; or

    Him turning around and dropping Clemmons back to the coffee shop where the officers were know full well Clemmons wanted to kill Officers, sounds like he put those officers at grave risk of death to me.

  10. lovethemountains says:

    footballscaa, where did you get your law degree.? Must have been a mail order course that bestowed the degree based on life experiences.

  11. “footballscaa, where did you get your law degree.?”

    Evergreen Graduate !

  12. sunup500 says:

    conspiracy to commit first degree murder……..DEATH!!!!!!!

  13. Dayum looking at this 50/50 is hard because anyone with any common sense figures you have any to do with killing someone(let alone police officers) is getting prosecuted pretty stiffly. He was apart of it and he will probably go in as the example case for what happens when you help commit murder. I don’t really see him shaking this one with I didn’t know full well what was going to happen.
    I mean people say “I’m gonna kill my kids, my boss, my teacher” but to what severity do we mean that? Not really. If I’m looking at this fairly which is insainly hard he drop MC off and takes off. Killing officers is beyond the range of those mentioned above, if someone told me that I’d probably think yer of SHat. Total Load of crap, now convincing someone else of that will probably be his only defense. I’ d like to see how Allen avoids major or minimum involvement.

  14. conservative101 says:

    Oh cry me a river footballscaa! What’s the matter? This guy a victim? Did his parents not tell him they loved him as a child? That why he is a criminal? Or is it that the county d.a. office is full of racist white people and they are going after an innocent guy just because he is black?? People like you make me sick. This guy deserves to be charged and deserves execution if he is found guilty! He is a career criminal. Save the taxpayers money and give em the chair! Put me on that jury and unlike you I’ll think with my brain and not some bleeding liberal heart that you seem to have!

  15. guidocarmasi says:

    Lets see how close this prediction is:

    $2 million dollar trial

    2 years duration

    Prison sentence 16 years

    Move back to Arkansas and live on a chicken farm.

  16. jeffm209 says:

    footballscaa

    Here you go…

    RCW 46.64.048
    Attempting, aiding, abetting, coercing, committing violations, punishable.

    RCW 9A.08.020
    Liability for conduct of another — Complicity.

    Hicks v US
    SC of US 1893 CB 790

    And, to be fair to this piece of garbage… (A possible defense)

    Bailey v US
    US CT of Apps WA DC 1969 CB 797

  17. pettibon says:

    Now, to the NEW problem…have to change the venue because everyone has heard of these murders and finding a juror who claims they have no preconceived ideas. Who can make that cut? Perhaps some more of the relatives who seem so eager to assist? I can hardly wait to hear this defense.

  18. drummerswidow says:

    @jeffm209 – well done! Good reply to footballscaa.

    Now, let’s see charges against the rest of the morally challenged family members that helped Clemmons.

  19. jeffm209 says:

    @drummerswidow

    Thank you.
    Yes, it seems we are, unfortunately, one of the minority states that have the ‘family member exceptions’ to aiding criminal behavior (RCW 9 [something])
    They’re still guilty of a crime… but, not the same crime.

    It’s a strange exception, but, thankfully, not the majority

  20. footballscaa, “And everyone crying for this guys head should hope I’m not sitting on that jury.” You bet I don’t! We don’t need a bleeding liberal heart saying “guy had a bad childhood, release the poor fellow so he can right right his life and get the help he needs.”

    For those on the side of *right* – which is keeping this cops killer’s assistant out of society – the prosecutor’s office can be reached at 798-7400. Soon after I heard the good news, I called to express kudos to the team of Mark Lindquist for their work and coming down hard on Allen. As it should be.

  21. frankiethomas says:

    “Don’t you have to actually kill someone to be charged with murder anymore?” What a stupid question. No, you don’t. And he didn’t just drop him off – he drove him back and forth in front of the coffee shop, and waited across the street. And when I have said “I want to kill my boss” I don’t display my gun and talk about where I can get others. This, according to the charging papers. If I’m on the jury, and they have witnesses and evidence to back this up as indicated in the charge, I’d have no worries saying guilty.And I’m pretty danged liberal.

  22. footballscaa says:
    March 2, 2010 at 12:34 pm
    Wow, grab your torches and pitchforks. Lynching anyone? Don’t you have to actually kill someone to be charged with murder anymore? He didn’t kill anyone. Accessory to murder, yes. Capital murder, carrying the death penalty? I don’t think so. The man who committed that crime already has gotten the death penalty. The Pierce Cty Prosecutor should hope the people who sit on that jury think with their hearts and not their heads. And everyone crying for this guys head should hope I’m not sitting on that jury. Or they’ll be doing it again. Bad call by PCP made on emotion. Convict him for what he did, not what you you feel he did.
    .
    Dude – keep drinkin’ that koolaid… you have painted yourself with the STOOOPID brush…. read a book, a law book…. slimy scumbag aided an even slimier scumbag Clemmons (so glad he is dead) in the execution of four police officers. You lose Dorkus Allen, just like your “friend”… you can now share his fate…. and footballscaa you get to look just like them for defending Allen – maggot. Oh and BTW, don’t need a torch or a pitchfork…. just a syringe.

  23. …. just looked at Dorkus’ face again in the article and thought to myself, “hmmmm, sucks to be you”…. and let’s say even if you had a Johnny Cochran dude for a mouthpiece-lawyer and managed to get off, plea deal some stupidly low sentence…. it would still suck to be you on your best day….. Why? Because you helped Clemmons execute four police officers and made 9 children lose a parent – you repluse me Allen – ’nuff said.

  24. racerray67 says:

    hang all of the fing regins up from the tallest trees and let the vultures and bugs eat thier rotten corpes do that all in public it will never happen again

  25. footballscaa says:

    I said he didn’t kill anyone. I didn’t say I felt sorry for him. Or anything else about him. I do think the Prosecutor is going to far with the death penalty. Just my thoughts. I do believe that is what this forum is for. Thank you all for your well thought out reactions.

  26. Football is right. I understand the emotion of hating this guy, but you have to check your emotions at the door when it comes to legal mumbo-jumbo.

  27. witchiwoman says:

    At the risk of losing the few admirers I have on here, I have to agree with footballscaa.

    Accessory to murder, yes. The exact same as the guy who pulled the trigger? No. I believe that is the law. At least that used to be the law. I understand that emotions are running high, and mine were too, but “Hang em high” is the same mindset the gangs use against each other. What happened to the rule of law our country is supposedly based on?

  28. I hope he gets the max, they were 4 heroes who did not deserve to die.

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