Member of 'Clemmons Seven' charged with hiding driver
LaTanya Clemmons, the sister of Maurice Clemmons, was charged today with helping to hide the man who allegedly drove Clemmons to the area where he killed four Lakewood police officers Nov. 29.
Seattle Times staff reporters
TACOMA — LaTanya Clemmons, the sister of Maurice Clemmons, was charged today with helping to hide the man who allegedly drove Clemmons to the business area where he killed four Lakewood police officers Nov. 29.
Referring to her as part of the "Clemmons Seven," Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told reporters he did not expect any more arrests beyond the seven people accused of impeding investigators.
At an appearance in Pierce County Superior Court this afternoon, LaTanya Clemmons pleaded not guilty to four counts of rendering criminal assistance in the first degree. She was ordered held on $1.5 million bail.
Clemmons, 34, who was taken into custody Friday, is one of five relatives and a friend of Maurice Clemmons who have been charged with impeding investigators in the aftermath of the slayings. A seventh person, Darcus D. Allen, who is under investigation for driving Maurice Clemmons to the area where the officers were shot, is also being held.
In asking for the high bail for LaTanya Clemmons, Lindquist said she poses a flight risk because, if convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison. The others charged with helping Clemmons could be sentenced to between 15 and 40 years in prison.
Lindquist said LaTanya Clemmons and Allen had lived together, but he didn't describe the nature of the relationship. Clemmons works at Swedish Medical Center and the Muckleshoot Casino.
Maurice Clemmons, 37, fatally shot Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Gregory Richards as they sat in the Forza Coffee shop in Parkland. In an exchange of gunfire, Richards wounded Clemmons.
Clemmons eluded police for nearly two days until he was shot and killed Dec. 1 by a Seattle police officer.
In charging papers filed today, prosecutors allege that LaTanya Clemmons paid for a motel room for Allen and gave him bus money to leave the state after she became aware he was with her brother at the time the officers were killed.
Allen, 38, was booked into the Pierce County Jail Dec. 1 on suspicion of rendering criminal assistance and as a fugitive from Arkansas, where he has been linked to a March 22 bank robbery in Little Rock. Detectives are investigating his role in the Parkland shootings.
Prosecutors have alleged Allen drove Clemmons to and from a carwash near the coffee shop where the officers were slain. Police say he could face murder charges depending on his level of involvement, but Allen has told investigators he wasn't aware of what happened after Clemmons briefly left the carwash.
Allen, who served 14 years for a 1990 double murder in Arkansas, did time with Maurice Clemmons in Arkansas prisons.
According to previously filed court documents, LaTanya Clemmons went to a relative's house in Algona the day the officers were shot. Earlier in the day, Maurice Clemmons had received first aid for the bullet wound at the house before leaving with two relatives, the documents say.
LaTanya Clemmons arrived at the house with Allen, according to a relative who remained at the house.
The relative told detectives that while watching news coverage of the slain officers, Allen told those gathered at the home, "we was just there," referring to the murder site, the documents say.
Allen went on to describe how he drove Maurice Clemmons to and from the carwash near the coffee shop, the documents say.
"While still at the Algona residence," LaTanya Clemmons "said she was going to take Darcus to a motel so he could go back to Arkansas for a while and 'lay low' until this all 'blew over,' " according to the documents.
She drove him to a motel in Federal Way and paid for the room, then returned to the Algona residence, the documents say.
The next day, the relative told detectives, she drove to the motel to pay for another night and to give Allen cash for a bus ticket to Arkansas, according to the documents.
She was present when Allen was arrested in the early morning hours Dec. 1 and was deceptive when questioned about the killing of the officers, the documents say.
Clemmons was charged with one count for allegedly driving Allen to the motel; two counts for each alleged motel payment; and one count for providing bus money. In court documents filed today, Clemmons is quoted as denying she heard Allen's remarks at the Algona house. She claimed she didn't learn of his involvement until the next day, Nov. 30, the documents say.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.