Getaway driver in Lakewood police killings released after plea deal reached

A plea deal was reached Tuesday in the case against Darcus Allen, the man previously convicted of murder in the deaths of four Lakewood police officers in 2011.

The deal comes ahead of what would have been a fourth trial in the case.

Allen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the second degree. The maximum sentence for the charge is 10 years and a $20,000 fine, but the recommended sentence was no more than 120 months in jail, which Allen has already served — meaning he would be released immediately.

According to the King County Jail roster, Allen was released at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Allen drove Maurice Clemmons to and from a Parkland coffee shop where Clemmons shot and killed four Lakewood police officers in 2009.

Allen’s initial 2011 conviction was overturned in 2015 after the State Supreme Court found prosecutor misconduct. His first retrial last fall ended in a mistrial, as did his second retrial in February.

“They had no evidence, there was no evidence that Maurice Clemmons was going to commit the murder of the four police officers,” said Alton McDonald, a friend of Allen’s. “My sympathy and condolences goes out to the family of the four fallen officers, however if you are not involved in a crime and you’re charged with something that you didn’t do it’s far better to be released now than to be released 50 or 70 years later.”

The Lakewood Police Department released a statement that reads, in part:

The Lakewood Police Department is grateful that Darcus Allen is finally pleading guilty for the murders of Sgt. Mark Renninger, Ofc. Tina Griswold, Ofc. Ronnie Owens, and Ofc. Greg Richards. It has been a long, hard, and difficult path, but one where we persevered in order to hold those accountable for the heinous and brutal murders of our Police Officers. This crime deeply impacted the families, our Department, as well as our entire community. This only further underscores the importance of this verdict.

I’ve spent years watching you find holes in the legal system and I’m not going to go into details on how this has affected my life because it won’t change today’s outcome,” said Kim Renninger, widow of fallen officer Mark Renninger. “The bottom line is you know what you did, I know what you did, your actions have affected a lot of people in this community. You might not have pulled the trigger but you did make it possible for Maurice Clemmons to murder my husband and three other officers.”

Comments on this article