Dorcus Allen faces additional charges

SLAYINGS: Suspected driver for Clemmons hit with 4 new counts

February 17, 2011 

Cop killer Maurice Clem-mons' suspected getaway driver faces additional counts of murder in the deaths of four Lakewood police officers.

Pierce County prosecutors last week charged Dorcus Allen, 39, as an accomplice with four counts of second-degree murder.

Allen, also known by the first name Darcus, already is charged as an accomplice with four counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths of Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Gris-wold, Gregory Richards and Ronald Owens.

The second-degree murder charges give a jury “more options for holding Dorcus Allen accountable,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Wednesday.

The new counts accuse Allen of committing what’s called “felony murder” by allegedly driving Clemmons to and from a car wash near the Parkland coffee shop where Clemmons shot the officers to death Nov. 29, 2009.

A person is guilty of felony murder if, while committing a qualifying crime, he or she kills someone. In this case, prosecutors would argue Allen aided Clemmons, 37, in committing an assault that turned deadly.

Lindquist said his office reached the decision to add the additional counts after reviewing the evidence and analyzing testimony from previous trials connected to the case.

Allen, who’s pleaded not guilty, is to go to trial March 1. Attempts to reach defense attorney Mary K. High were unsuccessful.

It’s possible a jury could convict Allen of both second-degree murder and aggravated first-degree murder. If so, he’d be sentenced on the most serious charges.

Allen faces life in prison without the possibility of release if convicted of the aggravated murder counts.

He faces “the functional equivalent of a life sentence” if convicted of the second-degree murder charges, which include firearm sentencing enhancements, Lindquist said. The potential sentence: 122 years.

Clemmons, who was the subject of an intense manhunt, died Dec. 1 when a Seattle police officer shot him while investigating a stolen car.

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