Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

June 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Conviction overturned against Maurice Clemmons’ sister

A state Court of Appeals has overturned the convictions against the sister of slain cop-killer Maurice Clemmons.

The court said prosecutors failed to prove that LaTanya Clemmons, who was sentenced to five years in prison, knew that her brother’s friend, Darcus Allen, was wanted for murder by police and considered an accomplice in the 2009 slaying of four Lakewood police officers at a coffee shop in Parkland.

Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist said on Friday afternoon he would appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court.

“I understand the reversal of a jury’s well-reasoned decision can anger people and erode faith in our criminal justice system,” Lindquist said. “…I’m confident the jury’s verdict will be upheld by the higher court and justice will prevail.”

LaTanya Clemmons, who had no criminal history and had been working three jobs when her brother killed the police officers, was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance in the wake of the slayings.

A Pierce County Superior Court convicted her of two counts of rendering assistance with aggravating factors and she was sentenced to five years in prison. Because of good time, she was scheduled to be released next month.

The appeals court ruled in a 2 to 1 decision that prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Allen immediately knew that Maurice Clemmons had committed the murders of the officers or that he was being sought by police as an accomplice to the slayings.

While LaTanya Clemmons admitted to police that she drove Allen to a hotel and gave him money for a bus ride to Arkansas, prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she did so to help him escape prosecution for murder, the appeals court ruled.

“We can easily infer from the above evidence that Maurice was capable of and did commit the four murders. We can also infer that Allen was with Maurice on the drive to the car wash and that he drove Maurice away from the car wash after the shootings. But this evidence does not prove that LaTanya knew Allen actively participated in the murders as an accomplice,” the appeals court judges said in their ruling.

According to the court opinion, Allen denied knowing what Maurice had done in the coffee shop and there was testimony that he said, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” as he watched television reports in the wake of the slayings. The appeals court ruling also states that Allen gave LaTanya Clemmons no indication that he had helped to plan or facilitate the slayings other than to drive away with Clemmons after the murders were committed.

Allen was ultimately charged with aggravated first-degree murder, as an accomplice, and convicted by a jury in 2011. He was given a 420-year prison sentence. Four other friends or relatives of Maurice Clemmons also were convicted and for helping him in the wake of the killings and were sentenced to prison.

 

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Court of Appeals, Lakewood, LaTanya Clemmons

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►