Retrial begins for getaway driver convicted of murder in Lakewood police killings

TACOMA, Wash. — Jury selection for the retrial of Darcus Allen began Thursday at the Pierce County Courthouse in Tacoma. Allen was charged and convicted in 2011 on four counts of first-degree murder in the 2009 killings of four Lakewood police officers. Allen, the alleged getaway driver for shooter Maurice Clemmons, was sentenced to 420 years in prison.

Court documents from the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office in 2010 claim, “Allen provided the shooter, Clemmons with transportation to and from the murder scene and waited nearby with the get-away vehicle while Clemmons committed the murders.”

The prior trial was vacated after a series of successful appeals by the defense to the Washington State Supreme Court. Justices there found errors in the conduct of Allen’s trial.

Mary Fan, a criminal law professor at the University Washington, says in the decade since that initial verdict, the community context has changed as compared to what was felt in the immediate aftermath of the tragedies.

“Retrials happen, especially in high-stakes homicide cases where there are errors below,” said Fan.

The defense hopes a fresh perspective will bring about a different outcome this time around. Alton McDonald of the Tacoma-based New Century Justice Network has been working closely with Allen’s defense team. McDonald argues the evidence brought against Allen just hasn’t added up.

“He was never the getaway driver,” said McDonald. “It’s my hope that we get a more equitable outcome as related to the evidence.”

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