A Pierce County jury began deliberations Thursday in the trial of four people accused of helping Maurice Clemmons after he killed four Lakewood police officers last year.
Jurors left the County-City Building at the end of business without rendering a verdict. They are expected to continue deliberating today.
They got the case about noon after lawyers finished their closing arguments, which took all day Wednesday and three hours Thursday morning.
The question of intentions dominated Thursday’s session.
Were defendants Douglas Davis and Letrecia Nelson trying to help Clemmons elude capture when they provided him aid after the Nov. 29, 2009, shootings? Or were they motivated purely by self-preservation when they helped him?
Davis and Nelson are charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance and weapons charges for allegedly helping Clemmons after he shot Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens at a Parkland coffee shop.
To win a conviction for rendering criminal assistance, prosecu- tors must prove Davis and Nelson knew Clemmons was wanted for murdering the officers and intended to help him escape.
Davis is accused of traveling with Clemmons from a house in Tacoma to one in Pacific, where he allegedly helped treat a gunshot wound Clemmons suffered during his attack on the officers.
Nelson is accused of opening her home to Clemmons after the attack, providing medical supplies and helping to treat his wound.
Both are charged with possessing a gun Clemmons stole from officer Richards before killing him with it.
Eddie Davis, who is not related to Douglas Davis, and Rickey Hinton, Clemmons’ half brother, also are charged with rendering criminal assistance in the case. Their lawyers delivered their closing arguments Wednesday.
Attorney Kent Underwood, who represents Douglas Davis, told jurors Thursday his client was motivated by fear of Clemmons. Davis was wholly dependent on Clem-mons for money, transportation and housing and had become increasingly fearful of him in the months before the shootings, Underwood said.
Clemmons had begun to believe he was Jesus and had threatened to kill cops and schoolchildren shortly before the massacre of the Lake-wood officers, the attorney said.
Minutes after the shootings, Clemmons showed up at a house Davis shared with Eddie Davis and demanded to be driven out of the area, Underwood said.
“When a man who is that mean and aggressive, who threatens to kill police officers, shows up at your door saying, ‘I’ve been shot, come with me,’ and Doug doesn’t know if he’s got a gun or not – do you want to gamble on that guess?” Underwood said. “No. You go along.”
Douglas Davis and Clemmons rode in a car driven by Eddie Davis to Nelson’s house, where the killer got a change of clothes and bound his wound before moving on.
Questioned by detectives later, Douglas Davis initially said he hadn’t seen Clemmons for a few days. He later admitted seeing Clemmons that morning and said he helped treat his wound at the Pacific house.
“Did he do it with the intent to hinder the apprehension? Or did he do it with the intent just to save his own butt?” Underwood asked. “He did that to save his own butt.”
Deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner said during his rebuttal argument there was no evidence presented during the trial that Douglas Davis mortally feared Clemmons.
Penner pointed out Davis continued to work for Clemmons and told police he considered him a friend.
“Even if true, it wouldn’t explain his actions,” Penner said of the fear defense.
Attorney Keith MacFie represents Nelson, Clemmons’ aunt. MacFie argued that his client was minding her own business that Sunday morning when Clemmons showed up at her house unannounced and demanded clothes and medical supplies.
“She didn’t ask for this,” MacFie said. “She had this foisted upon her by Maurice Clemmons.”
Any help she provided was motivated by a desire to protect her daughter, who lived with her, and herself by getting Maurice Clem-mons – who was shot and ranting about killing cops – out of her house, MacFie said.
“You get him out the door by getting him taken care of and getting him out of your life,” he said. “It’s not unreasonable for my client to be scared.”
Penner argued there was no evidence submitted at trial that Nelson wanted her nephew out of her life. More likely, she wanted to help get him on the road quickly so he could stay ahead of police, he said.
Penner pointed out that Nelson later lied to police about seeing Clemmons.
“It was more like: ‘Go on, honey, get going. I’ll cover your tracks,’ ” Penner said.
The deputy prosecutor finished up his argument by pointing out that each of the four defendants lied to police when asked about Clemmons’ whereabouts shortly after the shootings.
The lies delayed law enforcement’s ability to track down the killer, who remained at large for nearly two days before being shot dead by a Seattle police officer, he said.
Penner concluded by reminding the jury of a question he posed during his opening statement at the beginning of the trial nearly a month ago.
“Remember that question: Who would help Maurice Clemmons?” Penner said. “Who did help Maurice Clemmons? These defendants. They’re guilty.”