Bank accounts may be sign Clemmons planned getaway
Maurice Clemmons, the man who gunned down four Lakewood Police officers on Sunday, may have laid plans in advance for a getaway by opening several bank accounts he could access on the run.
Seattle Times staff reporters
Coverage from the days following the Lakewood shootings
TACOMA — Maurice Clemmons, the man who gunned down four Lakewood police officers Sunday, may have laid plans in advance for a getaway by opening several bank accounts he could access on the run.
Documents filed in Pierce County Superior Court on Thursday show investigators are attempting to follow a money trail as they look for accomplices who helped Clemmons evade police after the shootings.
One of those alleged accomplices, Clemmons' half-brother, Rickey Hinton, 46, was charged Thursday with three counts of rendering criminal assistance.
Pierce County sheriff's detectives filed search warrants seeking financial records from four banks where Clemmons and his wife, Nicole Smith, may have had accounts, to determine whether the records would show who tried to give Clemmons money.
"It is believed that Clemmons might have established several accounts prior to the shooting that could later be accessed by Clemmons or his relatives/associates," according to a search-warrant affidavit.
Clemmons may have received a prepaid debit card that one of his female "associates" loaded with several hundred dollars after the shooting, according to the documents.
Credit cards missing
In addition, Clemmons may have stolen credit cards from one of the four Lakewood police officers he killed at a Parkland coffee shop. The wallet of one of the officers was found open and it appeared credit cards were missing, according to a search-warrant affidavit.
"The further this investigation goes on, the more we see how truly evil Maurice was and how shocking it is that anybody would assist him in any way," Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist said.
According to police and prosecutors, Clemmons spoke about his desire to kill police officers and children at a family gathering Thanksgiving Day and reiterated his intentions the night before the slayings when witnesses said he told them he was going to "take out a group of cops" and instructed them to "watch the news."
Another search-warrant affidavit filed Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court indicates Clemmons was still within three miles of the coffee shop — and at one of three homes he owned — about five hours after the murders.
According to court documents, a neighbor saw Clemmons and his sister walk into a residence at 7427 S. Asotin St., in South Tacoma, at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
A GPS ankle bracelet, which had been placed on Clemmons by a bail-bond company seven days earlier, was found at the South Asotin Street home by police later that day.
Clemmons apparently cut the tracking device off his ankle shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, according to court documents.
Sheriff's spokesman Detective Ed Troyer said Thursday that undercover detectives were sent to monitor all of Clemmons' properties as soon as their locations became known.
"As soon as we knew who he was, we were watching his house and we sent undercovers to his other properties the second we found out about them," Troyer said.
A Pierce County sheriff's detective spotted a pickup that matched a description of the getaway vehicle at 9:12 a.m., according to a search-warrant affidavit filed Thursday.
The detective said he saw blood on the inside door handle, and learned from a dispatcher the truck was registered to Clemmons' home address in Tacoma.
Clemmons also owned the Asotin Street address, according to property records.
State Department of Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail said he got a call around 9 a.m. Sunday alerting him Clemmons, who was under DOC supervision, was suspected in the officers' slayings.
It's unclear what time deputies went to the Asotin Street home. Troyer said at the time police were checking out eight to 10 possible suspects, including two people who falsely confessed to the killings.
So far, six relatives and friends of Clemmons have been arrested on suspicion of providing aid to Clemmons after the murders, and three of them have been formally charged with rendering criminal assistance in the first-degree.
Thursday, Hinton pleaded not guilty to three counts of rendering criminal assistance. Prosecutors allege Hinton helped Clemmons by providing transportation, destroying evidence and lying to police.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frederick Fleming ordered Hinton held on $2 million bail.
Troyer said authorities are still looking for two other individuals who they believe were involved in the effort to help Clemmons.
According to charging documents, Hinton, who lived in a Parkland home owned by Clemmons, was first contacted Sunday morning by a Pierce County sheriff's sergeant investigating the officers' slayings.
Hinton, who was walking with his 12-year-old grandson, told the sergeant he was headed to buy groceries for breakfast, the documents allege.
Hinton claimed he had not heard from Clemmons and, while spending several hours with sheriff's deputies, continued to insist he had no knowledge of Clemmons' whereabouts, according to the documents.
Hinton also denied any knowledge of the shootings, prosecutors alleged.
The next day, police officers looking for Clemmons stopped a vehicle leaving an Auburn address associated with Clemmons. Hinton was in the vehicle with brothers Douglas Davis, 22, and Eddie Davis, 20, who were charged Tuesday with helping Clemmons elude police.
According to court documents, Hinton was not only home when Clemmons appeared at the Parkland house after the shootings, he gave the keys to his car to one of the Davis brothers, who then drove Clemmons away.
Hinton has since acknowledged he gave his cellphone to his grandson immediately after the shootings and told the child to delete Clemmons' phone numbers from the phone, the charging documents say.
"Eddie Davis reported that he, Douglas Davis and Hinton all knew on Sunday morning that Clemmons had shot police," the documents say.
According to court documents, the Davis brothers helped Clemmons get medical attention at a relative's house in the Algona-Pacific area, then delivered him to a woman who drove Clemmons to Seattle.
Another man, Darcus Allen, 38, is being held on a fugitive warrant from Arkansas, where he is wanted for armed robbery while Pierce County investigators and prosecutors prepare to file charges against him.
Police and prosecutors believe Allen drove Clemmons to a carwash two blocks from the coffee shop and waited while Clemmons killed the officers.
If investigators can prove Allen knew what Clemmons intended to do at the coffee shop, prosecutors say, they will file murder charges against him.
The family of slain officer Greg Richards, including his widow and two of his three children, attended Hinton's hearing Thursday, saying the slain officer would have wanted them to face those involved in his death.
Richards' sister-in-law, Melanie Burwell, said Clemmons and his associates have "no conscience. ... They're high-fiving each other."
Information from Seattle Times staff reporter Ken Armstrong and Times archives is included in this story.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org