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Washington Supreme Court Weighs New Trial For Lakewood Cop Killer's Accomplice

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
FILE - Darcus Allen, left, who is accused of driving Maurice Clemmons away from the coffee shop where Clemmons is suspected of killing four Lakewood, Wash., police officers, appears in Pierce County Superior Court, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009.

The getaway driver in the murders of four Lakewood, Washington police officers is seeking a new trial. The case has made it to the Washington Supreme Court and on Tuesday, the justices heard arguments.

Darcus Allen, also known as Dorcus Allen, was convicted and sentenced to 420 years in prison as an accomplice to Maurice Clemmons, the Arkansas-parolee who murdered the four officers in a coffee shop in 2009. Clemmons was later shot and killed by a Seattle police officer. Prosecutors went after Allen who drove the getaway truck.

But Gregory Link, an attorney representing Allen, told the Supreme Court his client did not get a fair trial. One issue is that some of those attending the trial wore T-shirts commemorating the four officers.

“I think the T-shirt issue is particularly important to address. We’re not supposed to deliver messages from the gallery. That’s not what spectators are there for. That’s what not the right to a public trial guarantees,” Link said.

The lawyer for the prosecution countered there’s no evidence the jurors could even see the T-shirts. Allen also argues he deserves a new trial because of misstatements by the prosecutor during closing arguments.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.