TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A state appeals court ruled Friday that the sister of cop-killer Maurice Clemmons was wrongly convicted of rendering criminal assistance, a decision that Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said he’ll appeal.
Maurice Clemmons shot and killed four Lakewood police officers at a coffee shop in November 2009. He was gunned down by a Seattle patrolman two days later.
His sister, LaTanya Clemmons, has been serving a five-year term and with good behavior and a sentence discount for first-time, nonviolent offenders, she was due to be released next month.
Prosecutors said she knowingly helped her brother’s friend, Dorcus Allen, evade police after he drove Clemmons to and from a car wash near the coffee shop. She drove Allen to a hotel and gave him money, even after he acknowledged being with her brother near the shooting scene that morning and even though she knew he was trying to avoid the police.
LaTanya Clemmons maintained that although she knew Allen had been with her brother, Allen had insisted to her that he didn’t know anything about what Clemmons had done at the coffee shop.
In a 2-1 decision Friday, the state Court of Appeals said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove otherwise.
“We can easily infer from the above evidence that Maurice was capable of and did commit the four murders,” Judges David Armstrong and Joel Penoyar said. “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.”
Lindquist said he would appeal to the state Supreme Court and that he was concerned about the appeals court undoing the jury’s verdict.
“LaTanya watched news reports the entire day of the murders,” he said in a news release. “She gave Allen $50 and drove him to the motel room where he hid out. She knew he was sought by police in an aggravated murder case and she assisted him. The jury found her guilty. They got it right.”
— Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.