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Mother accepts accomplice sentence

by Rick Thomas
| June 18, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - The mother of Tina Griswold, one of four slain Lakewood, Wash., police officers, said she accepts the sentence handed down to the sister of the killer on Thursday.

LaTanya Clemmons was sentenced in Tacoma, Wash., by Judge Stephanie Arend to five years in prison for rendering criminal assistance to an alleged accomplice of Maurice Clemmons, an ex-convict who gunned down the officers in November at a Parkland coffee shop.

"It was the most they could give her," Geneva DeLong, the Post Falls mother of Griswold said after she heard about the sentence Thursday morning.

Maurice Clemmons was shot by one of the dying officers but managed to escape. He was killed two days later by a Seattle police officer during a manhunt.

Prosecutors said LaTanya Clemmons paid for a motel room and bus fare for alleged getaway driver Darcus Allen. He is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to aggravated murder charges.

Arend ruled that five years was the maximum she could give under sentencing guidelines and jury findings. Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor Kevin McCann had asked for a 10-year sentence.

After deliberating for three days, the jury found Clemmons guilty last week of two counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

LaTanya Clemmons gave her brother cash for a bus ticket to Arkansas and paid for a motel room for him after the shooting.

"She knew, she knew," DeLong said. "She drove by her brother's pickup to make sure it was his."

She said she would have liked to see a longer sentence, but understands the limits of the law as seen by the judge, and is glad the aggravating factors prevented Clemmons' sentence from being even shorter, 12 to 18 months.

Others charged with assisting Maurice Clemmons will go on trial later this year and next year.

"They could get more," DeLong said. She is spearheading a campaign for legislation in Washington for a constitutional amendment denying bail to career criminals when it can be proven they are a danger to society.

"Maybe there will be changes in that law," she said. "Hopefully. Tell everybody thank you for your prayers."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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