Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Roundup

Judge to rule on Dontae Morris' motion for new trial

TAMPA — A judge is expected to rule June 27 on whether convicted cop killer Dontae Morris deserves a new trial.

Circuit Judge William Fuente conducted a telephone hearing Friday morning in which Morris' attorneys highlighted various points in a motion they filed last week. They say Morris should be retried for the killings of Tampa police Officers David Curtis and Jeff Kocab, who were shot to death during a 2010 traffic stop.

Among their main arguments was that a prospective juror tainted the entire jury pool when she made a statement about Morris' prior murder conviction during jury selection. They also argued that the judge should not have allowed testimony from a jail deputy, who heard Morris utter "I repent for killing," and that certain statements from the officers' widows should also not have been allowed.

Morris, who was recently moved to death row at Florida State Prison, did not attend the hearing. He was sentenced to death in May for the murders of Curtis and Kocab.

He is also serving a life sentence for the murder of Rodney Jones, who was killed about a month before the officers.

Morris is also still awaiting trial in the killings of Derek Anderson and Harold Wright, who were also killed that spring.

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