No Clemmons testimony

Shooting: Defense rests after calling 2 witnesses

June 3, 2010 

LaTanya Clemmons' lawyer wrapped up her case Wednesday by calling two witnesses to the stand. Her client was not one of them.

Instead, attorney Helen Whitener called Clemmons’ former roommate and a former car-wash attendant in an effort to chip away at the case against her client.

Clemmons, 34, is charged with four counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance for allegedly helping her cop-killer brother’s suspected getaway driver after the Nov. 29 shooting deaths of four Lakewood police officers.

Clemmons, who has pleaded not guilty, admits she bought Dorcus Allen a motel room and a bus ticket to Arkansas in the days after the shooting. But she contends she did not know he was wanted in connection with the massacre of the Lakewood officers.

Earlier in the trial, Pierce County prosecutors presented evidence that Clemmons and Allen were occasional lovers and that she had been allowing him to stay in her home for some time before the shootings.

Defense witness Mary Arnold, who roomed with Clemmons for a few months last year, confirmed Allen had been living in the home. He slept in a garage Clemmons had converted into a sort of living room, Arnold testified.

Whitener asked her why she got a room in the house while Allen had to sleep in the garage.

“Because I paid rent and he didn’t,” Arnold responded.

Whitener asked her whether Clemmons and Allen had a romantic relationship. Arnold said no, adding she would have known if they’d had one.

That testimony contradicted statements Clemmons gave to detectives during an interview in which she said he had sex with Allen once in a while. Jurors last week heard nearly four hours of interviews with Clemmons recorded over two days in early December.

Under cross-examination by deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner, Arnold testified it was possible Clemmons, who she’s known for two or three years, kept some things from her.

Next up was Dana Stacks, who in November 2009 worked as the attendant at a car wash near the coffee shop where Clemmons’ brother, Maurice, shot and killed Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Gregory Richards and Ronald Owens.

Stacks testified about the state of repair of the car wash at South 112th and Steele streets. Prosecutors contend Allen waited at the car wash for Maurice Clemmons while he was shooting the officers at the coffee shop down the street.

In one of her recorded interviews with detectives, LaTanya Clemmons said Allen told her that Maurice Clemmons asked him to wash the truck that day and then walked off for a bit.

Allen said he was about to start washing the pickup after going to a gas station across the street for change when Maurice Clemmons returned and told him to drive off, LaTanya Clemmons told detectives.

A prosecution witness testified earlier in the trial that he saw someone waving a hose at a white pickup truck at the car wash about the time of the shootings but that no water was coming out.

Deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann intimated in his opening statement that Allen was driving that truck that day.

McCann said video evidence shows Allen parking the truck in one bay of the car wash, walking across the street to a gas station, then returning to the truck and parking it in an adjacent bay to give him easier access to 112th Street for a fast getaway.

Under questioning from Whitener, Stacks said several bays at the car wash weren’t operational for various reasons that day, including the first bay Allen allegedly parked the truck in.

The adjacent bay appeared to be working, Stacks said after viewing police photographs of the car wash.

Under cross-examination by McCann, Stacks said it would be easiest to access 112th street from one of the two bays that Allen allegedly parked in that day.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday.

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