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Prosecutors: Getaway driver helped cop killer flee

TACOMA, Wash. — The convicted murderer who drove Maurice Clemmons away from the coffee shop where he massacred four suburban police officers waited with a newly purchased cigar in the getaway truck while Clemmons committed the crimes, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Darcus Allen, 38, who did time with Clemmons in Arkansas, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail after he was charged with being a fugitive. Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist is reviewing evidence to determine if any additional charges will be filed, including criminal assistance charges.

Investigators said Allen was the first in a network of friends and relatives who helped Clemmons avoid police during a frantic two-day manhunt that began when Clemmons walked into the Forza coffee house Sunday morning and shot to death four Lakewood police officers.

Court papers filed Wednesday state that Allen initially told police he had nothing to do with the crime and hadn't seen Clemmons in a long time. But he eventually acknowledged driving Clemmons to the scene and noted there were police cars parked at the coffee shop. He bought a cigar as he waited for him to return, then sped away when Clemmons climbed in the truck with a bullet in his abdomen, the papers state.

Allen told investigators that he quickly decided he wanted no part of what Clemmons had done and bailed out of the truck at the first intersection — but investigators said that was a lie, contradicted by other evidence.

One of the officers managed to shoot Clemmons in the gut before dying, but with first aid, rides and money from his associates, Clemmons was able to survive two days on the run. He was shot and killed Tuesday morning by a lone patrolman who encountered him on a South Seattle street.

Two women also appeared in Pierce County Superior Court and were ordered held for 72 hours on $500,000 bail, bringing to six the number of people to make court appearances after being accused of aiding Clemmons.

Clemmons' friend, Quiana Maylea Williams, and his aunt, Letricia Nelson, gave first aid to Clemmons, helped him change clothes and made arrangements to get him to other locations, police said.

"For some reason, this guy has a pretty big support system," Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said Wednesday. "That's not right. You're putting yourself up against society, the justice system and the cops."

Prosecutors: Getaway driver helped cop killer flee 12/02/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:06pm]
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