Police cars proceed through Tacoma during a memorial on Dec. 8, 2009 to four Lakewood officers who were shot to death.
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Police cars proceed through Tacoma during a memorial on Dec. 8, 2009 to four Lakewood officers who were shot to death.

Alleged accomplice in 2009 Lakewood police shootings wins court battle

Pierce County prosecutors received a setback Thursday in their case against an alleged accomplice in the 2009 Lakewood police shootings. But they say they may seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dorcus Allen is awaiting a new trial for serving as the driver to Maurice Clemmons the day Clemmons shot and killed four officers.

The first time, Allen was charged with aggravated first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole. The jury convicted him of murder, but acquitted him of the “aggravating factors”: that Allen knew Clemmons intended to kill multiple people and that those people were law enforcement officers.

The Washington Supreme Court had earlier decided that Allen deserved a new trial because prosecutors misstated to jurors the standard for finding an accomplice guilty.

And on Thursday the court ruled that it would be double jeopardy to try Allen again on those aggravating factors.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said he’s considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“There’s definitely a split of opinion around the country on this issue," Lindquist said. "This is one of the reasons we think the United States Supreme Court may be interested in reviewing the case.”

Without those factors, Allen could face lesser charges and a lesser sentence. Allen’s attorney, Mary K. High, said Allen’s acquittal on those factors shows he was not an accomplice to the shootings.

“That’s been our theory all along – that he didn’t know, that he was not an accomplice to this crime," she said. "We’re going to continue to represent him to our absolute best ability.”