Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Delay sought in Dontae Morris sentencing after detective fired

TAMPA — An attorney for Dontae Morris wants to delay a sentencing hearing for the convicted cop killer following the firing of a Tampa police detective who worked on the case.

Attorney Byron Hileman filed a motion last week seeking to delay Morris' scheduled May 30 sentencing to await further information on a federal grand jury investigation of former Detective Eric Houston.

The detective, a 24-year Tampa police veteran, was fired April 24 after a department investigator found that he was suspected of "egregious" conduct, according to Chief Jane Castor. Authorities have not revealed the nature of the accusations against Houston, citing the ongoing grand jury proceedings.

Hileman is seeking to delay the next scheduled hearing to allow more time to assess whether or how the Morris case might be affected by the investigation.

"If the sentencing takes place on May 30, 2014, as scheduled, defense counsel will not be able to adequately assess whether there are issues needing to be addressed to the trial court," he wrote in a court motion. If the sentencing occurs that day, it would limit the time Morris' attorneys have to raise potential arguments for a new trial.

Circuit Judge William Fuente will consider the motion May 13, Hileman said.

Houston worked on some of the Tampa Police Department's most high-profile cases. They included that of Morris, who was convicted last year in the 2010 shooting deaths of Officers Dave Curtis and Jeff Kocab. A jury recommended that Morris be sentenced to death, but a sentence has yet to be imposed by a judge.

If granted, this would be the second delay due to Houston's involvement in cases surrounding the police officers' shootings. On Friday, a federal appeals court granted Cortnee Brantley more time to file a brief outlining her case. Brantley, Morris' ex-girlfriend, was sentenced in June to a year in prison for failing to tell authorities that Morris was a felon with a loaded gun. She has been free on bail pending the appeal. The appeal now must be filed May 28, a month's delay.

Comments
Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

TAMPA — This is one stings. And it will ache for a long time. Maybe forever in these parts.Another chance for a Stanley Cup. Another disappointment. As the Lightning skated off the ice after losing Wednesday night's Game 7 of the East...
Updated: 6 minutes ago

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had it’s chances. Here’s the best ones

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had it’s chances. Here’s the best ones

TAMPA — Yanni Gourde said he will have to see a replay to know just how it got away, but even in a lopsided 4-0 loss like Wednesday night, he'll remember the puck in front of an empty net, and the missed opportunity that encapsulated a frustrat...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

TAMPA — Forget Vegas.The Lightning have left the building.No more season. No more watch parties. No more anything.There is no way around it. Jon Cooper's team couldn't finish, not in Game 7 at home, not in the Eastern Conference final...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region baseball: Leto ends state final four drought

TAMPA — It was the biggest game of Jakob Ryley's baseball career, and in the first inning of Wednesday's Class 7A region final against Melbourne, the senior right-hander was a little shaky.With two outs, Ryley walked two Bulldogs before a fly o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from Tampa cruise

Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from Tampa cruise

The Coast Guard announced Wednesday night that it has suspended the search for a man who was reported to have gone overboard from a cruise ship that left Tampa.Officials aboard the Carnival Paradise told the Coast Guard on Tuesday morning that Brian ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

TAMPA – The Lightning's dream season ended late Wednesday night with the final horn or, if you prefer, much earlier when Alex Ovechkin blasted the puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy just 62 seconds into the game.It ended one win shy of a trip to the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Live blog: Lightning's season ends with 4-0 loss in Game 7

Live blog: Lightning's season ends with 4-0 loss in Game 7

  Follow our live coverage of the Eastern Conference final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals. We'll have updates, analysis, photos, video and more on and off the ice from Times reporters, editors, sports columnists and photo j...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

Lightning-Capitals: Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

* The Lightning picked the worst time to stop scoring goals. It's tough to win when you go more than six periods without getting at least one past the goalie, but that is what happened to the NHL's top-scoring team during the regular season.* Certain...
Updated: 1 hour ago