Maurice Clemmons, the suspect in the Lakewood, WA police slayings, was killed by a lone Seattle police officer investigating a stolen car. Authorities in Washington State had been on a manhunt for Clemmons, the ex-con suspected of shooting four police officers at a coffee shop.
The problem for Citadel Media-syndicated Mike Huckabee is that Clemmons received clemency in May 2000 from Huckabee, governor of Arkansas at the time, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination last year and a favorite among many conservatives for the 2012 nomination.
The Dallas Morning News reports Huckabee let Clemmons free at age 19 for a crime spree committed at age 16 or 17. Actually, said the report, there were numerous junctures at which Clemmons might have remained in custody. The Seattle Times reports that Huckabee paroled him a second time in March 2004.
But Clemmons, who had moved to Washington State while still on parole, had spent much of this year in jail on a child-rape charge. He posted a $15,000 bond and was released last week – even though there were seven felony charges pending against him.
Huckabee posted a statement on his website calling the shootings “horrible and tragic” and noting that the state parole board had recommended clemency.
RBR-TVBR observation: It will make plenty of fodder for the radio show and may indeed boost ratings. If Clemmons hadn’t done the shooting spree, none of this would have been an issue. Jails are overcrowded everywhere and the system has flaws—this was a major one that needs fixing. Perhaps if folks weren’t put in jail so long for non-violent crimes, there would be more room for people like Clemmons to stay longer. As to the 2012 nomination, there’s disagreement here at RBR-TVBR. “We doubt this will hurt his chances much either way. Depends how the media plays it out, of course,” said one editor. “No way,” said another, “a guy killing four cops is way bigger than Willie Horton, who did in Mike Dukaikis. Huckabee’s political career is over.”