A state appeals court voted 2-to-1 Friday to overturn the convictions of LaTanya Clemmons, the sister of Lakewood police killer Maurice Clemmons. Prosecutors say they will appeal the ruling.
Maurice Clemmons shot and killed Lakewood Police Sergeant Mark Renninger and Officers Tina Griswold, Ron Owens and Greg Richards in a Pierce County coffee shop on Nov. 29, 2009. He was killed two days later by a Seattle police officer.
Dorcus Allen was convicted of aggravated first degree murder for helping Maurice elude police and sentenced to 420 years in prison. LaTanya was convicted last July and sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly helping Allen elude police.
LaTanya Clemmons filed the appeal claiming prosecutors had failed to prove that she helped Allen.
In the ruling announced Friday, Judge David Armstrong wrote the state failed to prove that LaTanya knew Allen committed aggravated first degree murder and failed to prove that she knew the police were looking for Allen for aggravated first degree murder.
“… thus, the evidence was insufficient to support the rendering criminal assistance charges. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for dismissal all of the charges with prejudice,” wrote Armstrong.
Judge Joel Penoyar concurred with Armstrong. Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall dissented, saying there was sufficient evidence to convict LaTanya.
The Department of Corrections said LaTanya Clemmons was already scheduled for release on July 16 after serving half of her sentence. Under an old law that has since been reversed, she qualified to receive 50 percent off her sentence and received credit for time served.
The Pierce County Prosecutor's Office says it plans to appeal this ruling to the Washington state Supreme Court. The high court is not required to hear the case because there has already been one appeal. While the high court considers the request, the decision of the appeals court will be stayed. That means Latanya Clemmons will not be released until July 16.
Information compiled by KING 5's Travis Pittman