Published February 07, 2011
Maurice Clemmons' wife denied knowing husband posed threat to policeAdam Lynn, staff writer
About two months before he walked into a Parkland coffee shop and gunned down four Lakewood police officers, Maurice Clemmons told his wife he planned to "kill every last one of them devils."Clemmons was referring to law enforcement officers, whom he believed were unjustly persecuting him.On the day her husband made good on his threat, Nicole Smith told investigators the exact opposite that she had no reason to believe Clemmons was angry with police.Nicole said she would be shocked if Maurice was involved with the shooting of the Lakewood officers, Pierce County sheriffs detective Robert Jackson wrote in a report documenting his interactions with Smith on Nov. 29, 2009.Jacksons report was one of hundreds connected to the massacre of Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Gregory Richards released to The News Tribune, the Seattle Times and other news organizations Friday.The records compiled by the Pierce County Sheriffs Department document in sometimes excruciating detail the investigation into the officers deaths and the subsequent search for Clemmons.The sheriffs department turned over the more than 2,000 pages after news organizations and other interested parties won a public records lawsuit demanding their release.The Washington Supreme Court ruled in November that Pierce County Superior Court judges Susan Serko, Bryan Chushcoff and Stephanie Arend erred when they sealed the reports and exhibits last year at the request of a number of people criminally charged in connection with the shootings.News Tribune reporters read the documents over the weekend and are preparing at least two stories based on them. While the records dont reveal anything groundbreaking, they do provide some details that werent publicly known until now, including Smiths comments to investigators.Jackson and colleague Mark Merod interviewed Smith shortly after 10 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2009, after police stopped her as she was leaving her house in a car.Jackson and Merod asked her a number of questions, including if her husband harbored anger toward police.Nicole told us Maurice was not angry towards police and had never verbalized any anger towards the police while incarcerated in jail this last time, Pierce County sheriffs detective Mark Merod wrote in a report. Nicole told us Maurice never blamed police for his problems, but was more upset at the jail system as a whole.Phone calls Clemmons made from jail while incarcerated from Oct. 1 to Nov. 17 tell a different story.In one of them, he told his wife he would need to get a gun when he was released.If police crossed him, he said, Its going to be the last time they say, Hey, mister. Boom. Dead in they forehead.The Seattle Times obtained recordings of those phone calls through a public records request and published a story based on them in February 2010.Smith, 39, also told police that day shed seen no signs of mental illness in her husband, according to Jacksons and Merods reports.Various acquaintances of the cop killer have testified in court they noticed a severe deterioration in Clemmons mental health in the months before the massacre of Renninger and officers Griswold, Owens and Richards.Some testified Clemmons, 37, believed he was God.Smith told the detectives she had not seen her husband since Thanksgiving when she took a plate of food and some blankets to him.Hed been staying in a different house since being released from jail because hed been charged with a sex offense involving her daughter.Smith told detectives she hadnt heard from him that day and didnt have any idea how he might be spending his day.She said hes probably home reading the Bible, Jackson wrote in his report.Police later searched her house but found no sign of her husband, who was shot dead by a Seattle police officer in the early-morning hours of Dec. 1.Smith has not been charged with a crime in connection with the Lakewood shootings.