Clemmons' cousin testifies against mom

TRIAL: State's witness tells about morning of killings

November 10, 2010 

The bill came due Tuesday for a woman who avoided prosecution by agreeing to testify against four people, including her mother, accused of helping Maurice Clemmons after he gunned down four Lakewood police officers last year.

Cicely Clemmons, a cousin of the notorious cop killer, took the stand in Pierce County Superior Court as a state’s witness in the trial of Rickey Hinton, Eddie Lee Davis, Douglas Edward Davis and Letrecia Nelson.

The relatives and associates of Maurice Clemmons are charged with rendering criminal assistance for allegedly providing transportation and medical aid to Clemmons and hindering police. They’ve pleaded not guilty.

It was an unpleasant morning for Cicely Clemmons, a 33-year-old Renton resident.

Relatives and friends of the four slain officers watched her expectantly from the gallery. The defendants wore looks of disgust during much of her testimony. A TV camera caught her every move.

Then there was the barrage of questions posed by deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann and the four-attorney defense team, which took every opportunity to point out for the jury her previous lies and inconsistencies, and there were many.

In the end, it was difficult to tell which side she helped.

It was clear the experience laid her low. At the lunch break, she left the courtroom under the glare of her mother, Nelson, hurried down the hall, sat on a bench and cried.

Cicely Clemmons is one of the prosecution’s key witnesses.

Three days before the Nov. 29, 2009, shooting, she was at a Thanksgiving dinner where Maurice Clemmons unleashed a disturbing rant in which he threatened to kill police, schoolchildren and others, Cicely Clemmons testified.

She, her mother, Douglas Davis and Maurice Clemmons’ suspected getaway driver, Dorcus Allen, were present during the tirade, Cicely Clemmons testified.

“He kept going on and on about how he hated police,” she said. “He said he was going to kill the police. It hurt my heart.”

Cicely Clemmons also was present in the Pacific house she then shared with her mother when Maurice Clemmons and the Davises showed up at the door the morning of Nov. 29.

About an hour before, Clemmons had shot and killed Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens in a Parkland coffee shop. Richards shot Clemmons in a struggle over the officer’s gun, but Clemmons survived.

Maurice Clemmons said he’d shot four cops and been shot himself and demanded clothes, money and car keys, Cicely Clemmons testified.

Under questioning from deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann, Clemmons explained that she stayed in bed for the first 10 or 15 minutes the men were in the house.

When she came out of her room, she testified, Maurice Clemmons was wearing a shirt she thought belonged to an uncle who stored clothes in the home and that there was a wet spot on the carpeting and the smell of cleaning products in the air.

Prosecutors allege Maurice Clemmons bled on the floor while at his aunt’s home and that Nelson cleaned it up to destroy evidence. They contend she also gave her nephew clean clothes and helped him bind his wound.

Cicely Clemmons further testified that Eddie Davis retrieved from the kitchen counter a bag she assumed held a gun and handed it to Maurice Clemmons when he said he was ready to leave.

Prosecutors contend that alleged action by Davis constituted rendering criminal assistance to a wanted fugitive and also violated Davis’ prohibition from handling guns. He’s a convicted felon.

Cicely Clemmons also testified she gave keys to her car to Eddie Davis and provided Maurice Clemmons with $60 from her wallet. Prosecutors contend either Eddie Davis or Douglas Davis drove that car to the Auburn Super Mall to help Maurice Clemmons escape.

She said she later lied to police on two occasions about her involvement in the case but then came clean after learning her cousin was dead. A Seattle police officer shot Maurice Clemmons dead Dec. 1.

Cicely Clemmons told jurors she was afraid of her cousin but also wanted to help him.

When he left her house that day, Maurice Clemmons told those assembled that he wasn’t done, Cicely Clemmons testified.

McCann asked her what she thought he meant.

“That he was going to kill more officers,” she said.

During cross-examination, defense attorneys Philip Thornton, John O’Melveny, Kent Underwood and Keith MacFie pounded Cicely Clemmons on the lies she originally told police and the fact she avoided being charged by turning state’s evidence.

O’Melveny pointed out instances where she lied to cops about everything from when she got out of bed the morning of Nov. 29 to whether the Davises and Maurice Clemmons left the Pacific house in one car or two.

She told police at one point that the men left in one car but testified on the stand they left in two.

“Why would you lie about something like that?” O’Melveny asked.

Clemmons said she didn’t have an answer.

Thornton and Underwood elicited testimony from Clemmons about her cousin’s deteriorating mental state in the summer and fall of 2009. She testified he seemed to be losing his touch with reality, saying he was Jesus Christ and invincible.

Both attorneys contend Clemmons’ mental state influenced their clients’ decision-making on the day of the massacre.

MacFie asked Cicely Clemmons repeatedly about what she saw her mother do the morning of Nov. 29.

Did she see Nelson clean up anything on the floor? Did she see Nelson retrieve clothing for Maurice Clemmons? Did her mother get a bag from the closet for Maurice Clemmons to store a gun?

“No,” Cicely Clemmons answered to each query.

Underwood took a similar tack regarding Douglas Davis. Cicely Clemmons testified she didn’t see him do anything to help Maurice Clemmons.

Toward the end of his cross-examination, Thornton fired a series of questions at Clemmons, all aimed at tainting her credibility.

“Ms. Clemmons, have you ever been arrested for your lies?”

“No.”

“Have you ever been arrested for giving Maurice Clemmons $60?”

“No.”

“Have you ever been arrested for giving Maurice Clemmons your car keys?”

“No.”

Testimony is expected to continue today.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/crime

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