Published January 15, 2011
Maurice Clemmons' associates sentencedADAM LYNN; Staff writer
Three people convicted of crimes connected to cop killer Maurice Clemmons received prison terms Friday that were above the standard range but well short of the maximum terms sought by prosecutors. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend sentenced Eddie Lee Davis to 10 years, five months; Douglas Edward Davis to seven years, six months; and Letrecia Nelson to six years, two months in state prison. Prosecutors had sought 20 years each for the Davises and 15 years for Nelson, saying their crimes badly hurt the community and cried out for the strictest punishment allowed by law. A jury last month convicted Eddie Davis, 21, and Letrecia Nelson, 54, of providing aid to Clemmons after he killed four Lakewood police officers at a Parkland coffee shop. The jury also convicted Davis of unlawfully possessing a firearm and of possessing a stolen firearm. Nelson also was convicted of possessing a stolen firearm. The same jury convicted Douglas Davis, 23, of the two weapons violations, saying he essentially possessed a pistol Clemmons took from officer Greg Richards, 42, and used to kill him. Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Tina Griswold, 40, and Ronald Owens, 37, also died in the massacre. Jurors also found that the crimes of the Davises and Nelson were worse than normal, which gave Arend the discretion to depart from the standard range. Deputy prosecutors Kevin McCann and Stephen Penner told Arend that the maximum sentence was the only appropriate punishment. “They knew Maurice Clemmons had been shot and injured,” McCann said. “They knew that he was still armed, that he was armed with a law enforcement officer’s weapon. And we know that Maurice Clemmons was boasting that he wasn’t done. “And they were aware of these facts when they helped him be transported out of the area.” Griswold’s brother Tom DeLong also called for a maximum sentence. He spoke lovingly about his “baby sister” and told Arend that the 40 hours when Clemmons remained at large after the shootings were terrifying for his family. Clemmons, 37, died Dec. 1 after being shot by a Seattle police officer during a confrontation. “The pain of our loss still hurts as bad as it did on the day that it occurred, and it will continue to haunt us for the rest of our lives,” DeLong said. “Because the defendants continued to refuse to take responsibility for their actions, they refused to disclose the truth, they continued to show a disregard for the law and the community, we humbly ask the court to impose the harshest penalty provided by the law.” Defense attorneys representing the three defendants argued that their clients should receive sentences commensurate with their crimes and not be surrogates for Clemmons. John O’Melveny, who represented Eddie Davis, pointed out that people who commit murder often are sentenced to fewer than 20 years. “This is not about revenge for Maurice Clemmons,” said O’Melveny, who asked for a sentence of about seven years for his client. Eddie Davis – whose standard range was seven years, seven months to nine years, 11 months if all three counts were run consecutively – declined to speak on his own behalf. He was convicted of helping Clemmons flee Pierce County and possessing Richards’ gun. Arend said a sentence higher than the standard was in order and gave him 125 months. “His actions certainly caused a lot of trauma,” the judge said. Douglas Davis was up next. Before he was sentenced, his attorney, Kent Underwood, argued that his client’s convictions should be thrown out. There wasn’t enough evidence produced at trial that he possessed Richards’ gun, Underwood said. Douglas Davis was an unwilling participant that day – he felt threatened by Clemmons – and never took hold of the pistol, the attorney argued. Arend declined to set aside the convictions, saying the jury heard enough evidence to find him guilty of unlawfully possessing a firearm and possessing a stolen firearm. Underwood then asked for a sentence of 410 days in prison for Douglas Davis, saying his client was “the least culpable of anyone here today.” Deputy prosecutor Penner previously asked for the maximum, saying Douglas Davis not only possessed a stolen gun but one he knew to be stolen from a dead police officer. “This wasn’t just any gun,” Penner said. Douglas Davis accepted his chance to speak. “I want to apologize to the community for my actions. I want to apologize to the families,” Davis said, turning toward DeLong and Kim Renninger, Sgt. Renninger’s widow. But he said he thought he was being treated unfairly. “I don’t think I should be looking at that much time,” he said. Arend said she didn’t buy Underwood’s contentions that Douglas Davis was acting under duress when he technically possessed Richards’ stolen firearm. She gave him a sentence nearly two years more than the high end of his standard range, which was three years, three months to four years, three months if both counts were run consecutively. Underwood requested that his client be released on bail while he appeals his conviction. Arend set a hearing for Wednesday to consider the request. The hearing for Nelson, Clemmons’ aunt, came last. McCann argued she was a “mother figure” to Clemmons who “oversaw or orchestrated” getting him cleaned up when he arrived at her house after the shootings. Prosecutors contended during trial that Clemmons received medical aid, cash and clean clothes at her Pacific home shortly after the shootings. “These were actions that led to a great delay in the apprehension of Maurice Clemmons,” McCann said. Nelson was convicted of lying to police when they came to her house asking about Clemmons’ whereabouts. Nelson’s attorney, Keith MacFie, told Arend, “My client is not the monster the state is trying to portray.” He argued during trial that Nelson was in shock and afraid when she let Clemmons in her house that day. MacFie said Nelson, who had no previously criminal history, should be sentenced to time served. She’s been in jail for over a year. He acknowledged that wasn’t likely to happen and requested five years. Nelson’s standard range was two years to two years, four months if both counts were run consecutively. Nelson then apologized for her actions and those of her nephew. “I’m sorry for everybody’s losses,” she said. Arend told Nelson her actions that day were almost understandable, except for when she started lying to police. “It’s my recollection that it was a couple of different times that you lied,” the judge said. “That’s why you’re in this position today.” The judge then sentenced her to 74 months.