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High Court Orders New Trial For Lakewood Cop Killer's Accomplice

AP091202035654.jpg
Ted S. Warren
/
AP Photo
FILE - Dorcus 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 Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new trial for the getaway driver in the 2009 killings of four Lakewood, Washington police officers.

Dorcus Dewayne Allen, who is also known as Darcus Allen, drove Maurice Clemmons to and from the scene of the Thanksgiving weekend shooting at a coffee shop. Allen was charged with four counts of aggravated murder.

In closing arguments, the prosecutor repeatedly told the jurors that Allen “should have known” Clemmons was intent on murdering the officers. But that’s not the legal test for an accomplice to murder.

The Supreme Court concluded the prosecutor committed prejudicial misconduct by misstating the proper standard and ordered a new trial. The court, however, was not convinced that t-shirts worn by the families of the victims in court prejudiced the jury.

Allen was sentenced to 420 years in prison. He will now be moved back to the Pierce County Jail for retrial.

In a statement, the Pierce County Prosecutor apologized to the families of the Lakewood officers because they will have to “endure another trial.”

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.
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