Relative pleads not guilty to aiding shooter

December 4, 2009 

When Maurice Clemmons came home Sunday with a bullet hole in his torso and a story of shooting cops, his half brother didn't call police to investigate or even call an ambulance for his wounded kin.

Instead, Rickey Hinton provided keys to a car later used to move Clemmons out of the area, ordered someone to delete telephone numbers tied to the killer from his cell phone and lied to investigators about his half brother’s whereabouts, according to court documents.

Pierce County prosecutors on Thursday charged the 47-year-old man with three counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance for allegedly helping Clemmons, 37, in the aftermath of the fatal shootings of four Lakewood police officers at a Parkland coffee shop.

Hinton pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Mark Lindquist asked Superior Court Judge Frederick Fleming to maintain the $2 million bail set for Hinton during his preliminary court appearance earlier this week.

Lindquist cited Hinton’s criminal history – three felony and more than two dozen misdemeanor convictions over the past 28 years – and the gravity of the shooting as reasons for requesting that bail amount.

“The defendant assisted in one of the most heinous crimes I’ve seen in my career, and this makes him an extreme danger to the community,” Lindquist said.

Public defender Mike McNerthney represented Hinton only for Thursday’s arraignment.

McNerthney called the bail request “very high” but said he was not prepared to argue against it. He asked Fleming to reserve that right for a future attorney, a request the judge granted.

Fleming then maintained the bail at $2 million.

“I am concerned about the safety of the public,” he told Hinton. “I am concerned about your criminal history.”

Clemmons gunned down Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Tina Griswold, 40, Greg Richards, 42, and Ronald Owens, 37, as they gathered before their shift at the Forza Coffee Co. shop on Steele Street South.

Richards shot Clemmons before being fatally wounded. Clemmons then fled the area and eluded a manhunt for 42 hours before a Seattle police officer shot him dead before dawn Tuesday.

Investigators allege Hinton and others helped Clemmons after the shootings, even though they knew he had killed four police officers.

Two other men – brothers Eddie Lee Davis, 20, and Douglas Edward Davis, 22 – have been charged with rendering criminal assistance, and at least four others are under investigation for helping Clemmons.

According to charging papers, Hinton ran into a police officer after the shooting Sunday near a pickup truck Clemmons allegedly used to travel to and from the coffee shop the morning of the shooting.

The truck – allegedly driven by Clemmons’ friend Darcus Allen, 37 – later was abandoned on Pacific Avenue South.

“Hinton reported that he had not seen Clemmons,” the charging papers state. “Hinton reported he had not heard from Clemmons.”

Detained Monday, Hinton gave a different account to detectives. He said he gave Clemmons the keys to the pickup on Saturday night and awoke Sunday morning to find the truck gone, according to charging papers.

Later that morning, Clemmons arrived at the property where they both live, bleeding from a gunshot wound.

Hinton said he gave the keys to a white Pontiac to the Davis brothers, who used the car to take Clemmons to a relative’s house in Auburn where he received treatment for his wounds and clean clothes.

Hinton then told his 12-year-old grandson “to start deleting Clemmons’ phone numbers from his cell phone,” the documents state.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644

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