Maurice Clemmons, an ex-con, is a person of interest in today's murders of four Lakewood police in Tacoma, Washington. Clemmons has an long criminal history and is believed to have been in the area where the shootings occurred. Clemmons was recently arrested and charged for assaulting a police officer in Washington state, as well as second-degree rape of a child. Unbelievably, the man was allowed to post a $150,000 bail. See Update 11-30-01 9:40 a.m. CDT. 11:00 a.m. - University of Washington being searched. Update 12-01-09: Clemmons is dead. Details below.
In 1989, Clemmons, then 17, was convicted in Little Rock for aggravated robbery. He was paroled in 2000 after Huckabee commuted Clemmons' 95-year prison sentence. Huckabee, who was criticized during his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 for granting many clemencies and commutations, cited Clemmons' youth. Clemmons later violated his parole, was returned to prison and released in 2004.Larry Jegley, the prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Pulaski Country said he had been dreading this day. This from the Seattle Times:
Clemmons' criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.
Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child. He was released from custody just six days ago, even though was staring at seven additional felony charges in Washington state.
Clemmons posted $15,000 with a Chehalis company called Jail Sucks Bail Bonds. The bondsman, in turn, put up $150,000, securing Clemmons' release on the pending child-rape charge.
Clemmons lives in Tacoma, where he has run a landscaping and power-washing business out of his house, according to a police interview with his wife earlier this year.
He was married, but the relationship was tumultuous, with accounts of his unpredictable behavior leading to at least two confrontations with police earlier this year.
During the confrontation in May, Clemmons punched a sheriff's deputy in the face, according to court records. As part of that incident, he was charged with seven counts of assault and malicious mischief.
In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them that families need to "be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday," a Pierce County sheriff's report says.
"The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus," the report says.
As part of the child-rape investigation, the sheriff's office interviewed Clemmons' sister in May. She told them that "Maurice is not in his right mind and did not know how he could react when contacted by Law Enforcement," a sheriff's report says.
"She stated that he was saying that the secret service was coming to get him because he had written a letter to the President. She stated his behavior has become unpredictable and erratic. She suspects he is having a mental breakdown," the report says.
Deputies also interviewed other family members. They reported that Clemmons had been saying he could fly and that he expected President Obama to visit to "confirm that he is Messiah in the flesh."
Prosecutors in Pierce County were sufficiently concerned about Clemmons' mental health that they asked to have him evaluated at Western State Hospital. Earlier this month, on Nov. 6, a psychologist concluded that Clemmons was competent to stand trial on the child-rape and other felony charges, according to court records.
Clemmons moved Washington in 2004, after being released from prison in Arkansas, state Department of Corrections records indicate. That would mean he had gone five years or so before landing in serious trouble with authorities here, according to a review of his criminal record.
Clemmons started Sea-Wash Pressure Washing Landscaping with his wife, Nicole Smith, in October 2005. The license for the business expired last month.
However, the UK's TimesOnline is quoting police saying, just one hour ago that Clemmons has been shot and "well might be dead." A house is surrounded and they believe Clemmons is holed-up inside.
But as I write this, FOX is saying they thought they had him cornered and trapped inside his Aunt's house, but now they say he is not inside the house. He has a gunshot wound to his abdomen, and he is armed. Police say they know he was inside the house, but he is not there now.
Three associates of Clemmons have been arrested and up to seven others could be arrested for helping the suspect make his way from the Lakewood/Parkland area to Seattle, according to Pierce County sheriff's spokesperson Ed Troyer. The associates provided shelter, transit, cell phones and other assistance to Clemmons, Troyer says. Now, "They're going to pay for it," he adds.A blogger living in the area of Forenza Coffee, and who linked to this report, says that Clemmons was living under the name Maurice Smith at 1118 131st. St. S. in Tacoma.
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