Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Families of slain Officers Kocab, Curtis to speak before sentencing

TAMPA — The relatives of two Tampa police officers killed in the line of duty will have a chance to address a judge before he sentences their killer.

Responding to a request from prosecutors, Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente said Monday he is willing to hear from the family members of Officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis, who in 2010 were shot dead by Dontae Morris during a traffic stop.

Morris, 28 of Tampa, was convicted of the murders last year following a trial. Jurors unanimously recommended that he be executed, but Fuente will hear additional evidence at a hearing next month before he decides whether Morris will receive death or life imprisonment.

"Obviously, victims in the state of Florida have a right to be heard," Fuente said, indicating he would allow the officers' relatives to speak at Morris' sentencing hearing.

But it is questionable what weight, if any, the judge is allowed to accord their statements under sentencing laws. Those laws define a strict set of standards for judges to use when deciding whether to impose the death penalty.

"Whatever decision I make will be exclusive of any victim impact evidence presented to the jury or presented to the court," Fuente said.

Family members already spoke about their personal losses to the jury before it issued its death recommendation.

Morris has been charged with five murders, and has been convicted for three of them with two cases pending. He next is scheduled to appear in court March 13.

Families of slain Officers Kocab, Curtis to speak before sentencing 02/17/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 17, 2014 6:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. [National Hurricane Center]
  2. With successful jewelry line, Durant High alum Carley Ochs enjoys 'incredible ride'

    Business

    BRANDON

    As a child Carley Ochs played dress up, draped in her grandmother's furs.

    Founder Carley Ochs poses for a portrait in her Ford Bronco at the Bourbon & Boweties warehouse in Brandon, Fla. on September 19, 2017. Ochs is a Durant High and Florida State University graduate.
  3. Photo of the Day for September 20, 2017 - Where did Mom go?

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Stan Wooldridge of Temple Terrace, FL.

  4. Video: Maddon, in return to Trop, says Rays need new stadium

    The Heater

    Former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, now with the Chicago Cubs, speaks about the need to replace Tropicana Field during the first game of a two-game series in St. Petersburg on Sept. 20, 2017.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) watches the action in the second inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  5. Video shows massive sinkhole that swallowed Apopka home and may grow larger

    Public Safety

    APOPKA — A home near Orlando was partially swallowed by a massive sinkhole Tuesday morning that may grow even larger, officials said.

    A home at 222 West Kelly Park Road in Apopka, Fla., is being swallowed by a sinkhole on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Kat Kennedy says crews responded Tuesday morning, shortly after the Apopka house began sinking. [Stephen M. Dowell | Orlando Sentinel via AP]