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Three Clemmons associates found guilty

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A Pierce County jury convicted three associates of Lakewood police shooter Maurice Clemmons for crimes that happened while he was on the run last year, but acquitted Clemmons’ brother, Rickey Hinton.

 

By Jonathan Martin

Seattle Times staff reporter

A Pierce County jury convicted three associates of Lakewood police shooter Maurice Clemmons for crimes that happened while he was on the run last year, but acquitted Clemmons’ brother, Rickey Hinton.

After three days of deliberations, the jury had a nuanced view of the charges, acquitting one defendant, Doug Davis, of rendering criminal assistance to Clemmons, but convicting him of handling a gun stolen from one of the slain officers.

Two other defendants, Clemmons’ aunt, Letrecia Nelson, 53, and his cousin, Eddie Davis, 21, were convicted of all charges.

Because the jury found special circumstances, Pierce County prosecutors may seek the maximum sentences against Nelson and the Davises.

Although Doug Davis was acquitted of one charge, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said his office will seek the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison for handling the gun Clemmons stole from an officer.

Eddie Davis faces up to 20 years in prison and Nelson faces up to 15 years. Both Davises are convicted felons.

Hinton sat stone faced as he was acquitted and arrangements were made to let him walk free after a year in jail.

Lakewood police Chief Bret Farrar shook his head.

“The important thing is five of the seven people who helped Maurice Clemmons have been held accountable,” Lindquist said.

Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or jmartin@seattletimes.com

 

 




Clemmons’ cousin testifies against mom in cop slayings

The bill came due Tuesday for a woman who avoided prosecution by agreeing to testify against four people, including her mother, accused of helping Maurice Clemmons after he gunned down four Lakewood police officers last year.

ADAM LYNN; STAFF WRITER

 

The bill came due Tuesday for a woman who avoided prosecution by agreeing to testify against four people, including her mother, accused of helping Maurice Clemmons after he gunned down four Lakewood police officers last year.

Cicely Clemmons, a cousin of the notorious cop killer, took the stand in Pierce County Superior Court as a state’s witness in the trial of Rickey Hinton, Eddie Lee Davis, Douglas Edward Davis and Letrecia Nelson.

The relatives and associates of Maurice Clemmons are charged with rendering criminal assistance for allegedly providing transportation and medical aid to Clemmons and hindering police. They’ve pleaded not guilty.

It was an unpleasant morning for Cicely Clemmons, a 33-year-old Renton resident.

Relatives and friends of the four slain officers watched her expectantly from the gallery. The defendants wore looks of disgust during much of her testimony. A TV camera caught her every move.

Then there was the barrage of questions posed by deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann and the four-attorney defense team, which took every opportunity to point out for the jury her previous lies and inconsistencies, and there were many.

In the end, it was difficult to tell which side she helped.

It was clear the experience laid her low. At the lunch break, she left the courtroom under the glare of her mother, Nelson, hurried down the hall, sat on a bench and cried.

Cicely Clemmons is one of the prosecution’s key witnesses.

Three days before the Nov. 29, 2009, shooting, she was at a Thanksgiving dinner where Maurice Clemmons unleashed a disturbing rant in which he threatened to kill police, schoolchildren and others, Cicely Clemmons testified.

She, her mother, Douglas Davis and Maurice Clemmons’ suspected getaway driver, Dorcus Allen, were present during the tirade, Cicely Clemmons testified.

“He kept going on and on about how he hated police,” she said. “He said he was going to kill the police. It hurt my heart.”

Cicely Clemmons also was present in the Pacific house she then shared with her mother when Maurice Clemmons and the Davises showed up at the door the morning of Nov. 29.

About an hour before, Clemmons had shot and killed Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens in a Parkland coffee shop. Richards shot Clemmons in a struggle over the officer’s gun, but Clemmons survived.

Maurice Clemmons said he’d shot four cops and been shot himself and demanded fresh clothes, money and car keys, Cicely Clemmons testified.

Under questioning from deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann, Clemmons explained that she stayed in bed for the first 10 or 15 minutes the men were in the house.

When she came out of her room, she testified, Maurice Clemmons was wearing a shirt she thought belonged to an uncle who stored clothes in the home and that there was a wet spot on the carpeting and the smell of cleaning products in the air.

Prosecutors allege Maurice Clemmons bled on the floor while at his aunt’s home and that Nelson cleaned it up to destroy evidence. They contend she also gave her nephew clean clothes and helped him bind his wound.

Cicely Clemmons further testified that Eddie Davis retrieved from the kitchen counter a bag she assumed held a gun and handed it to Maurice Clemmons when he said he was ready to leave.

Prosecutors contend that alleged action by Davis constituted rendering criminal assistance to a wanted fugitive and also violated Davis’ prohibition from handling guns. He’s a convicted felon.

Cicely Clemmons also testified she gave keys to her car to Eddie Davis and provided Maurice Clemmons with $60 from her wallet. Prosecutors contend either Eddie Davis or Douglas Davis drove that car to the Auburn Super Mall to help Maurice Clemmons escape.

She said she later lied to police on two occasions about her involvement in the case but then came clean after learning her cousin was dead. A Seattle police officer shot Maurice Clemmons dead Dec. 1.

Cicely Clemmons told jurors she was afraid of her cousin but also wanted to help him. The two had been close.

When he left her house that day, Maurice Clemmons told those assembled that he wasn’t done, Cicely Clemmons testified.

McCann asked her what she thought he meant.

“That he was going to kill more officers,” she said.

During cross-examination, defense attorneys Philip Thornton, John O’Melveny, Kent Underwood and Keith MacFie pounded Cicely Clemmons on the lies she originally told police and the fact she avoided being charged by turning state’s evidence.

O’Melveny pointed out instances where she lied to cops about everything from when she got out of bed the morning of Nov. 29 to whether the Davises and Maurice Clemmons left the Pacific house in one car or two.

She told police at one point that the men left in one car but testified on the stand they left in two.

“Why would you lie about something like that?” O’Melveny asked.

Clemmons said she didn’t have an answer.

Thornton and Underwood elicited testimony from Clemmons about her cousin’s deteriorating mental state in the summer and fall of 2009. She testified he seemed to be losing his touch with reality, saying he was Jesus Christ and invincible.

Both attorneys contend Clemmons’ mental state influenced their clients’ decision-making on the day of the massacre.

MacFie asked Cicely Clemmons repeatedly about what she saw her mother do the morning of Nov. 29.

Did she see Nelson clean up anything on the floor? Did she see Nelson retrieve clothing for Maurice Clemmons? Did her mother get a bag from the closet for Maurice Clemmons to store a gun?

“No,” Cicely Clemmons answered to each query.

Underwood took a similar tack regarding Douglas Davis. Cicely Clemmons testified she didn’t see him do anything to help Maurice Clemmons.

“He was just present, right?” Underwood asked.

“Yes,” Cicely Clemmons responded.

At one point, MacFie suggested Nelson was shaking from fright while Maurice Clemmons was in her house making demands. Cicely Clemmons agreed she was.

Toward the end of his cross-examination, Thornton fired a series of questions at Clemmons, all aimed at tainting her credibility.

“Ms. Clemmons, have you ever been arrested for your lies?”

“No.”

“Have you ever been arrested for giving Maurice Clemmons $60?”

“No.”

“Have you ever been arrested for giving Maurice Clemmons your car keys?”

“No.”

“Hmmm. I don’t have any further questions.”

Testimony is expected to continue today.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644
adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com
blog.thenewstribune.com/crime

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Jury gets earful on alleged Clemmons associates

Deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner on Monday reminded a Pierce County jury it was nearly a year ago that a gunman shot four Lakewood police officers to death – an occasion he said was of a kind where people remembered where they were when they heard the news.

ADAM LYNN; STAFF WRITER

PETER HALEY   staff photographer Four associates of cop-killer Maurice Clemmons facing charges of first-degree rendering criminal assistance appear with their attorneys in a pretrial hearing in Pierce County Superior Court Thursday morning, October 28, 2010. Clockwise from top left they are Eddie Lee Davis, Letrecia Nelson, Rickey Hinton, and Douglas Edward Davis. Peter Haley / Staff photographer

PETER HALEY staff photographer Four associates of cop-killer Maurice Clemmons facing charges of first-degree rendering criminal assistance appear with their attorneys in a pretrial hearing in Pierce County Superior Court Thursday morning, October 28, 2010. Clockwise from top left they are Eddie Lee Davis, Letrecia Nelson, Rickey Hinton, and Douglas Edward Davis. Peter Haley / Staff photographer

Deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner on Monday reminded a Pierce County jury it was nearly a year ago that a gunman shot four Lakewood police officers to death – an occasion he said was of a kind where people remembered where they were when they heard the news.

Penner reminded jurors of the fear that permeated the community as the shooter, Maurice Clemmons, remained on the loose for more than 40 hours after the shooting before being killed by a Seattle police officer.

He also reminded them that many people were in disbelief when they learned someone was helping Clemmons as he fled an army of law enforcement officers intent on tracking him down.

“We all wondered who would help this guy?” Penner said during his opening statement in the trial of four associates and relatives accused of aiding Clemmons in the aftermath of the massacre inside the Parkland Forza coffee shop.

“The answer is these defendants.”

Prosecutors have charged Clemmons’ half brother, Rickey Hinton, 47; Eddie Lee Davis, 21; Douglas Edward Davis, 23; and Letrecia Nelson, 53; with various counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance for allegedly helping Clemmons after the Nov. 29 shooting. The Davises and Nelson also face weapons charges.

All have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors contend the four knew Clemmons had shot Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens on Nov. 29 but helped him anyway.

Penner said Nelson, Clemmons’ aunt, told her daughter, “It ain’t right, but it’s family.”

Attorneys for Hinton and Douglas Davis said during their opening statements that it’s wrong to portray their clients as cop haters who intended to delay Clemmons’ capture.

Hinton is accused of providing keys to a car used to carry Clemmons out of Tacoma after the shooting, deleting calls from Clemmons from his cell phone and lying to police.

Douglas Davis is accused of helping to drive Clemmons out of Tacoma and providing other aid.

Hinton’s attorney, Philip Thornton, told jurors his client loved Clemmons but had become concerned about his mental health in the months before the massacre and wanted nothing to do with him when he came home the morning of Nov. 29 claiming to have been shot.

Clemmons had developed delusions of grandeur and been in and out of jail before the shooting, Thornton said.

“He wanted people to call him Jesus,” the defense attorney said.

Hinton provided keys to a car but didn’t know Clemmons had killed anybody when he did so, Thornton said.

Thornton also told jurors his client admits having his grandson delete information regarding Clemmons from his cell phone, but his intent was not to destroy potential evidence.

He did so, Thornton said, because he didn’t want to be able to call Clemmons any more after that morning. He sensed his brother was in trouble and didn’t want to get dragged into it, said the defense attorney, adding that Hinton had not memorized Clemmons’ phone number.

“It’s not enough to help a criminal,” Thornton said. “You have to do it with the intent to delay, hinder the apprehension of a person you know has committed a Class A felony: murder.

“The evidence will show Rickey Hinton … didn’t know.”

Douglas Davis’ attorney, Kent Underwood, portrayed his client as a hanger-on who feared Clemmons.

“Douglas Davis was present, and that was it,” Underwood said of his client’s actions after the shooting. “He knew if he denied Maurice Clemmons anything he wanted, he would be next.”

His client, too, noticed a deterioration in Clemmons’ mental health in the months before the shooting, the defense attorney said.

“Maurice Clemmons ran through the neighborhood naked,” Underwood said.

Attorneys for Eddie Davis and Letrecia Nelson did not make opening statements Monday. They reserved their right to make statements when they begin the defense case later in the trial.

Testimony is expected to take a month or more.

Witnesses Monday afternoon included Renninger’s widow, Kim.

It is the second jury trial to stem from the shooting. Earlier this year, a jury convicted Clemmons’ sister, LaTanya Clemmons, of rendering criminal assistance to her brother’s alleged getaway driver.

Quiana M. Williams, an acquaintance of Maurice Clemmons, also pleaded guilty earlier this year to helping Clemmons.

Both women were sentenced to five years in prison.

Suspected getaway driver Dorcus Allen is charged as an accomplice with four counts of aggravated first- degree murder. He’s pleaded not guilty and is to go to trial next year.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644
adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com
blog.thenewstribune.com/crime

 

 

Judge defers decision on moving trial of alleged Clemmons’ assistant ………

Rickey Hinton contends he can’t get a fair trial in Pierce County.

SEAN ROBINSON; STAFF WRITER

 

Rickey Hinton contends he can’t get a fair trial in Pierce County.

He’ll have to wait for jury selection to prove it, a judge decided Wednesday.

Hinton, 47, is charged with rendering criminal assistance to Maurice Clemmons, who shot and killed four Lakewood police officers last November. His trial is set for Oct. 28.

Hinton and four co-defendants are part of the so-called “Clemmons Seven,” a group of relatives and friends accused of helping Clemmons in his three-day flight from a police manhunt.

Wednesday, defense attorneys argued that media coverage of the shootings, pretrial publicity and political self-promotion by prosecutors justified moving the case to another county.

The argument included copies of campaign brochures from Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, who is seeking re-election, and deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann, who is running for District Court judge. Both brochures referred to efforts to prosecute “The Clemmons Seven.”

McCann and deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner filed counter-arguments noting media coverage and publicity did not meet the legal standard for moving the trial. They cited the example of Clemmons’ sister, LaTanya Clemmons convicted earlier this year of rendering criminal assistance. Her jury trial was held in Pierce County.

Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend deferred a decision on the issue, opting to wait for jury selection to measure the difficulty.

Pretrial arguments in Hinton’s case will continue today. Arend will rule on a question of aggravating factors tied to charges against Hinton, and the admissibility of his statements to police.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486
sean.robinson@thenewstribune.com

SIMILAR  STORIES:

  • Judge defers decision on moving Hinton trial

  • Maurice Clemmons’ relative asks for new venue

  • Clemmons’ relative seeks to move trial from Tacoma

  • Maurice Clemmons’ half brother’s comments to police from Nov. 29 ruled inadmissible

  • Trial in Clemmons case set to begin

  • Jury seated in trial for 4 linked to Clemmons

    Opening statements will be delivered Monday in the trial of four people accused of helping cop killer Maurice Clemmons after the shooting of four Lakewood police officers in November 2009.


    ADAM LYNN, STAFF WRITER

     

    Opening statements will be delivered Monday in the trial of four people accused of helping cop killer Maurice Clemmons after the shooting of four Lakewood police officers in November 2009.


    Attorneys in the case seated a jury Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court.


    Clemmons’ half brother, Rickey Hinton, 47, is charged with three counts of first- degree rendering criminal assistance.


    Also on trial are Eddie Lee Davis, 21, his cousin, Douglas Edward Davis, 23, and Letrecia Nelson, 53. They are charged with various counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance and weapons violations.


    All have pleaded not guilty.


    Prosecutors allege they helped Clemmons in several ways, including providing him with transportation, tending his gunshot wound and lying to investigators.


    Clemmons gunned down police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold of Lacey, Gregory Richards and Ronald Owens at a Parkland coffee shop Nov. 29. He was shot dead by a Seattle police officer after a two-county manhunt.

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    RELATED STORIES:

     

  • Testimony resumes today in Clemmons trial

  • Tacoma trial beginning in Lakewood police killings

  • Jury selection starts Tuesday in first trial linked to Lakewood police shootings

  • Jury seated in trial for four linked to Maurice Clemmons

  • Plea deal for woman in Lakewood cop-killer case

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