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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Getaway Driver In Lakewood Police Shootings Wins New Trial

Lakewood.jpg
Jennifer B - tacomamama
/
Flickr
2009 file photo of Lakewood, Washington, police cars at a memorial for the four officers killed by Maurice Clemmons on Thanksgiving weekend.

The Washington Supreme Court Thursday ordered a new trial for the getaway driver in the 2009 killings of four Lakewood, Washington, police officers.

Dorcus Dewayne Allen drove Maurice Clemmons to and from the scene of the Thanksgiving weekend shooting at a coffee shop. Allen was charged with four counts of aggravated murder.

In closing arguments, the prosecutor repeatedly told the jurors that Allen “should have known” Clemmons was intent on murdering the officers. But that’s not the legal test for an accomplice to murder.

The Supreme Court concluded the prosecutor committed prejudicial misconduct by misstating the proper standard and ordered a new trial. The court, however, was not convinced that t-shirts worn by the families of the victims in court prejudiced the jury.

Allen was sentenced to 420 years in prison. He will now be moved back to the Pierce County Jail for retrial.

In a statement, the Pierce County Prosecutor apologized to the families of the Lakewood officers because they will have to “endure another trial.”

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."