Letrecia Nelson might spend the rest of her life in prison for allegedly providing aid to her nephew after he shot four Lakewood police officers to death Sunday at a Parkland coffee shop.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist announced in court Friday that he will seek a 40-year sentence for the 52-year-old Nelson, who is charged with six counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance and one count of possessing a stolen firearm.
Lindquist contends Nelson helped Maurice Clemmons on Sunday – giving him medical aid and money and lying to police and concealing evidence – despite knowing he had shot Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Tina Griswold, 40, Greg Richards, 42, and Ronald Owens, 37, at the Forza Coffee Co. shop on Steele Street South.
The prosecutor also accuses her of temporarily concealing a handgun Clemmons took from one of the dead officers by putting it into a plastic grocery bag at her home in Pacific.
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The gun was found on Clemmons after a Seattle police officer shot him dead before dawn Tuesday.
Not guilty pleas were entered on Nelson’s behalf in Superior Court on Friday.
Judge Thomas Larkin increased Nelson’s bail from the $500,000 set during her first court appearance earlier this week to $1.5 million at Lindquist’s request.
The prosecutor called Nelson a danger to the community and a flight risk, especially because he intends to seek an exceptional sentence for her and another woman – Quiana M. Williams – accused of helping Clemmons.
Williams, 26, was charged Friday with five counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Prosecutors contend she gave Clemmons a ride to Seattle on Sunday, helped him clean his wounds and allowed him to do laundry at her home.
Not guilty pleas were entered on her behalf as well, and Larkin increased her bail from $500,000 to $1 million, again at Lindquist’s request. The prosecutor told the judge the high bail was warranted because he plans to seek a sentence of 25 years for Williams.
Public defender Mike McNerthney, who represented both women for the purposes of Friday’s arraignments, called Lindquist’s bail requests “extraordinarily high” given the charges, but he did not argue against them. Instead, he reserved the right for a future attorney to request a lower bail.
Nelson originally told investigators she hadn’t seen or heard from her nephew since Thanksgiving, when he ate dinner at her home. She changed her account during a subsequent interview, according to court records.
Clemmons, 37, showed up at her home about 9 a.m. Sunday – about 45 minutes after the massacre at Forza – telling her and another woman he’d shot police and been shot himself, Nelson told detectives.
She helped him clean his wounds, ordered the other woman to give him her car keys and cash, and later cleaned up blood spots he’d left on the floor of her home, the court records state.
Nelson allegedly told her housemate they weren’t going to call police because “family’s more important.”
Williams is accused of picking up Clemmons later that day and taking him to Seattle, cleaning his wounds with hydrogen peroxide, then driving him to another part of Seattle and dropping him off.
Three other people – Eddie Davis, 20, Douglas Davis, 22, and Rickey Hinton, 47 – also have been charged with assisting Clemmons.
Darcus Allen, 37, is being held in jail on a no-bail warrant out of Arkansas. He’s not been charged in connection with Sunday’s shooting, but authorities believe he drove Clemmons to and from the scene of the shooting.
Right after Friday’s arraignments, two Pierce County sheriff’s detectives escorted Clemmons’ sister away from the courtroom. They told her they needed to ask her more questions in connection with the case. She later was arrested and booked for investigation of rendering first-degree criminal assistance.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644