Friday morning's headlines

May 20, 2011

Mostly sunny and 66 today, clouds tonight, chance of showers over the weekend. Latest forecast here:

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Clemmons' Getaway Driver Guilty of Murder in Lakewood Police Killings
  • Stadium Tax Extension Falls Short in Washington Senate
  • Detectives Identify Man in 2 Snohomish County Cold Cases

 

Dorcus Allen Guilty of Murder in Lakewood Police Slayings

A jury in Tacoma has convicted the getaway driver in the Lakewood police killings with first-degree murder.

The News Tribune reports the Pierce County jury did not find Dorcus Allen guilty of aggravated circumstances.

Prosecutors charged Allen with four counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the 2009 deaths of four Lakewood police officers.

Prosecutors said Allen drove Maurice Clemmons to and from the Parkland coffee shop where Clemmons gunned down Sgt. Mark Renniger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Gregory Richards.

Allen admitted driving Clemmons around that morning but said he had no idea Clemmons planned to attack the officers.

The jury returned the verdict Thursday, a week after taking the case following a month of testimony.

Allen, who wore a stun belt throughout the trial as a security precaution, showed little emotion as the verdicts were read. He told onlookers:

You got what you wanted. It won't bring them back."

According to the News Tribune, emotions ran high in the jury room right up until the verdict was announced. Some people cried during the discussions and one vomited Thursday morning as their deliberations wound down.

 

Senate Votes Against King County Stadium Tax Extension

A proposal that would allow King County to extend its stadium taxes has failed in the state Senate by just one vote.

Supporters had argued during debate Thursday afternoon that the measure would have created new jobs by helping fund an expansion of Seattle's convention center and other local investments. Opponents said the bill would violate the trust of voters by not ending the tax when initially promised.

The 1995 taxes have been paying off construction of the Kingdome, Safeco Field and Qwest Field. Some lawmakers want the car-rental and restaurant tax extended until 2015, and the bill would have required a public vote in King County to approve the idea.

The taxes are due to expire after all construction bonds are paid off later this year.

 

Suspect Identified in Two 1995 Snohomish County Disappearances

Snohomish County Sheriff's office cold case detectives have identified a suspect in two unsolved disappearances from 1995.

Twenty-two-year-old Tracey Brazzel was reported missing in June 1995 and was assumed dead. At the time of her disappearance, blood samples were collected from her car.

Later that year, 26-year-old Patti Berry was found dead from stab wounds in a wooded area. Blood samples were also collected in her case.

“For 16 years I've waited for this day, and justice has finally come to my family,” said Berry's mother, Nancy Stensrud of Camano Island told The Herald. “When the cold-case team first started in Snohomish County, I remember saying, ‘Don't commit a crime here because you will be found.' Today, these words ring true.”

The blood samples in both cases included DNA that didn't belong to the women. That DNA was finally matched this year with that of a 43-year-old registered sex offender serving time in prison for indecent exposure.

 He has not been arrested in the two cold cases.