A Pierce County jury today convicted Dorcus Allen of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of four Lakewood police officers. The jurors, however, did not find him guilty of the aggravated circumstances and did not find he was a major participant in shootings.
“Justice was done in this case, and we’re thrilled with this verdict,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said outside the courtroom. “You don’t have a getaway driver who doesn’t know what’s up.”
Peter Mazzone, one of Allen’s defense attorneys, had a different reaction.
“I think an innocent man was convicted,” Mazzone said. “We’ll appeal as quickly as we can. This was a lynching, man.”
Allen, 40, was accused of driving Maurice Clemmons to and from the vicinity of a Parkland coffee shop where Clemmons gunned down Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Gregory Richards on Nov. 29, 2009.
Prosecutors argued Allen knew what Clemmons intended to do that Sunday morning when he drove him near the scene then waited at a nearby car wash for his friend and employer to return from the massacre.
Allen admitted driving Clemmons around that morning but said he had no idea Clemmons planned to attack the officers, even though his friend had threatened to kill cops and others in the weeks and months before the attack.
Prosecutors had charged Allen as an accomplice with four counts of aggravated first-degree murder. The jury had to decide whether he was guilty of first-degree murder, whether he was guilty of aggravating circumstances and whether he or Clemmons was armed with a firearm during the commission of a crime.
The jury got the case May 12 after nearly a month of testimony. After more than four days of deliberations, the jury reached their decision this morning.
They found Allen guilty of first-degree murder. They found he or Clemmons was armed with a firearm at the time. The jury did not find Allen guilty of the aggravating factors, which would have netted Allen a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
As he was leaving court, Allen said in the direction of the media, “You got what you want. It won’t bring them back.”
Allen will be sentenced June 17.
Lindquist said his office will recommend that Allen be sentenced to four life sentences. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frederick Fleming has the discretion to sentence Allen up to life in prison. If Allen had been convicted of aggravated first-degree murder, a life sentence would have been the only option.
Seven people were arrested in the aftermath of the killings, but Allen was the only one charged with murder. Five people have been convicted of either helping Clemmons or possessing firearms. One was acquitted.
Clemmons, 37, was shot dead by a Seattle police officer Dec. 1 following an intense two-county manhunt.
Stay tuned for updates.