Clemmons friend's stories conflicted, records show

Unsealed: Report shows many contradictions in answers to police after slaying of 4 officers

February 8, 2011 

Tacoma - Newly released investigative records underscore what Pierce County prosecutors have said for the past year: Dorcus D. Allen, the alleged getaway driver for cop killer Maurice Clemmons, told different and conflicting stories about his actions and knowledge when questioned by investigators.

“Dorcus had difficulty maintaining the same version of events when asked to clarify certain points,” one report states.

Allen, 39, is charged as an accomplice in four counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the Nov. 29, 2009, deaths of Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens.

The investigative records compiled by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department are among hundreds released to The News Tribune, The Seattle Times and other news organizations Friday.

They document the investigation into the officers’ deaths and the subsequent search for Clemmons. The sheriff’s 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 State 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 several people criminally charged in connection with the shootings.

Prosecutors relied on the reports to file charges against Allen, summarizing and distilling them into a statement of probable cause.

They say Allen drove Clemmons to a spot near the Parkland coffee shop where he killed the four officers and then drove the gunman from the scene. They also allege Allen knew what Clemmons intended to do.

Allen faces life in prison without the possibility of release if convicted of the charges. He is pleading not guilty. His trial is set to begin March 1.

Records show that at different points in interviews with investigators, Allen said he hadn’t been with Clemmons the morning of the shootings. Then he said he had been.

He said he didn’t see Clemmons with any guns, then admitted seeing Clemmons holding one. Allen first said he drove Clemmons home after the shootings, then said he got out of Clemmons’ truck after driving one block.

Allen said he had no idea Clemmons planned to kill police officers, then described his reactions to Clemmons’ stated intention to kill police officers.

“He was talkin’ about killin’. I said, man, you kill, you start killin’ police, you just make it hard on everybody,” investigators said Allen told them.

Apart from matters of minute detail, the investigative records reveal little new information. One scrap of the records explains the initial confusion surrounding Allen’s identity.

In the first hours of the manhunt for Clemmons, investigators were searching for an accomplice named Randy Huey.

A King County sheriff’s detective, interviewing other acquaintances of Clemmons, gradually pieced together the two names, and confirmed that Allen and Randy Huey were the same person. Allen himself confirmed it after his arrest.

“Dorcus told us he uses the name Dorcus Allen ‘for folks he doesn’t know,’” one report states. “Reluctant to commit to which name was his legal name, Dorcus Allen or Randy Huey, Dorcus shrugged when asked. When asked which name was his actual name, Dorcus responded, ‘Depends. Who are you looking for?’”

At one point, Allen referred to Clemmons removing an electronic home-monitoring ankle bracelet.

Clemmons had bailed out of jail on multiple criminal charges, including child rape. The bracelet belonged to a bail bond company. Clemmons believed removing the bracelet would draw police to him.

“When they come to this door, I got something for ‘em,” Clemmons reportedly told Allen.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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