Both the prosecution and the defense left court perplexed Wednesday after a Pierce County judge's ruling in the cases of two people charged with helping Maurice Clemmons after he killed four Lakewood police officers.
Defense attorneys for Quiana Williams, 26, and Rickey Hinton, 47, had argued that the multiple counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance filed against their clients should be consolidated into one count each.
Charging them with multiple counts for a single course of conduct violates their double-jeopardy protections, Kirk “Chip” Mosley and Philip Thornton told Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend. They then asked Arend to dismiss all but one count against each of their clients. Williams is charged with five counts, Hinton with three.
Prosecutors say Williams gave Clemmons a ride to Seattle, helped him treat his wounds, allowed him to do laundry at her apartment and gave him a ride to another location.
They allege Hinton – Clemmons’ half brother – provided keys to a car used to move Clemmons after the shooting, ordered someone to delete telephone numbers tied to the killer from his cell phone, and lied to investigators about his half brother’s whereabouts, according to court documents.
Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner countered that the multiple counts filed against the defendants were appropriate and should remain in place. State legislators intended for each act of assistance to be prosecuted as a separate charge, Penner argued.
Arend agreed with the defense, ruling that “it is the course of conduct of obstructing the apprehension and prosecution of Maurice Clemmons that is the unit of prosecution.”
But the judge declined to dismiss any of the charges against Williams and Hinton, as requested by defense attorneys.
Both sides left court unsure what the ruling meant and were discussing their options.
Six people are charged with rendering criminal assistance for allegedly helping Clemmons following the Nov. 29 shootings. The other four also have pleaded not guilty.
Another man, Dorcus Allen, 38, is charged with four counts of aggravated first-degree murder for allegedly driving Clemmons to and from the Parkland coffee shop where the officers were killed. Allen, also known as Darcus Allen, has also pleaded not guilty.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644