Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Peter Jamison (@PeteJamison) tweets live from selection of the Dontae Morris jury:

Judge hopes to seat Dontae Morris jury Wednesday

A judge expects to have a jury and alternates seated Wednesday afternoon for Dontae Morris’ murder trial. Morris is accused of killing two Tampa police officers during a traffic stop in 2010.

A judge expects to have a jury and alternates seated Wednesday afternoon for Dontae Morris’ murder trial. Morris is accused of killing two Tampa police officers during a traffic stop in 2010.

ORLANDO — A judge narrowed a large pool of potential jurors to about 75 by the end of the second day of jury selection Tuesday for Dontae Morris, the Tampa man accused of killing two police officers.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente said he hopes to have a 12-person jury and four alternate jurors picked Wednesday

That expectation might be optimistic in light of the extensive questioning the remaining prospective jurors still must undergo, including queries from both prosecutors and defense attorneys on the death penalty.

Morris, 28, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Tampa police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab. The officers were shot during a traffic stop in 2010.

If convicted, Morris could receive a death sentence. The jury would recommend to the judge either execution or life imprisonment without parole.

Jury selection is taking place in Orlando because of the extensive news coverage the case has received in the Tampa Bay area.

On Tuesday, as on Monday, a number of Orange County residents said they had nevertheless heard about the case. Few remembered details beyond the shooting of two police officers. Some among them said they thought what they had learned would make it difficult to be impartial.

"If I hear that someone shot a police officer, I'm inclined to believe they shot a police officer," one woman told Fuente. Another said she believed after seeing images of Morris that he looked "kind of hostile."

Other prospective jurors asked to be dismissed from service because they were unready to sit in judgment at all. "I'm a Catholic, and I feel that God is the only one that can judge anybody," one potential juror said.

Overall, 150 jurors have been questioned. Morris' trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Tampa. Members of the jury and alternates will be sequestered during the proceedings.

Peter Jamison can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petejamison.

Judge hopes to seat Dontae Morris jury Wednesday 11/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 8:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.