Appeals court ruling means one of 'Clemmons 7' will go free

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A key decision from the state court of appeals Friday will give three people who were convicted of helping Lakewood cop killer Maurice Clemmons a second chance.

It was a big deal for prosecutors to convict the "Clemmons 7" -- the men and women who impeded investigators in 2009. But now one of the killer's accomplices is about to walk out of prison for good.

It was a Sunday morning in November when Clemmons walked in to a Parkland coffee shop and shot four Lakewood police officers, one by one. Officer Greg Richards survived long enough to try to stop Clemmons from getting away, but lost his life and his gun in the struggle. Clemmons would later be killed by a Seattle police officer.

Pierce County prosecutors sent the seven people who helped Clemmons while on the run to prison, but three of them just got a break from the state court of appeals.

The ruling sets Douglas Davis free, throwing out his conviction on charges that he helped Clemmons hide the gun stolen from officer Richards.

"Douglas Davis, who has been in prison for almost four years, is walking free, but the other two will remain in prison," said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

The court upheld those same charges against accomplices Eddie Davis and Letricia Nelson, but threw out their exceptional sentences. Both will now get new sentencing hearings on the gun charges.

Lindquist predicts the ruling will have little effect since the court upheld exceptional sentences Davis and Nelson received for rendering criminal assistance.

"I understand there may be some frustration for the public, but the important thing is that everybody who assisted Maurice Clemmons in any way was aggressively prosecuted and all of them, to one degree or another, were held accountable," Linquist said.

Charges against accomplice Douglas Davis were dismissed because justices ruled there wasn't sufficient evidence to convict him of possessing a stolen firearm.