Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Driver's mother says daughter fled because she was scared

Cortnee Brantley was booked into the Orient Road Jail on a charge of misprision of a felony, a law making it illegal to witness a convicted felon commit a crime and not report it.


Cortnee Brantley was booked into the Orient Road Jail on a charge of misprision of a felony, a law making it illegal to witness a convicted felon commit a crime and not report it.

SEFFNER — Dontae Morris needed a ride, so Cortnee Brantley picked him up.

The couple had dated on and off, but were just friends that fateful Tuesday, Brantley's mother said Saturday.

Police say Brantley, 22, drove away after Morris shot and killed Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab after a traffic stop revealed a warrant for his arrest.

Mischell Brantley said fear made her daughter run.

"She was scared for her life," she said. "She's very sensitive."

Now, her daughter sits in the Hillsborough County Jail charged with misprision of a felony, a federal law that makes it illegal to witness a convicted felon commit a crime and not report it.

Mischell Brantley hasn't seen her daughter since she was arrested Friday at a Brandon apartment complex. "I'm devastated, as any mother would be," she said.

"She's the type of person to run and think that it's over," her mother said. "Like if she just closed her eyes it would just go away."

Before Tuesday, Cortnee Brantley had never been in serious trouble with the law.

Her mother said she had some difficult years in her teens and didn't graduate from Armwood High School.

But her soft-spoken daughter earned her GED and went out into the working world, taking on two to three jobs at a time, as Mischell Brantley had done to raise her two girls.

"She was taking a full load of classes at Hillsborough Community College," her mother said.

The sensitive young woman formed a tight-knit trio with her mother and 17-year-old sister.

"We are very close. It's always been just the three of us. My 17-year-old is devastated. She can't sleep and hasn't been able to eat," Mischell Brantley said.

When police came Tuesday looking for Cortnee Brantley, her mother was certain she had not killed anyone. "I have exotic fish and she cries every time one of them died," she said.

But she doesn't absolve her daughter from blame.

"Sometimes good girls have dated bad guys," she said. "I would just say that some kids are more easily led."

As she was being questioned Tuesday, Cortnee Brantley accepted her role in the incident.

"She said 'If I had known what would happen I would have never given him a ride,' " her mother said.

Her mother said that Cortnee never saw or spoke with Morris after he ran from the shooting that night. "When they parted ways, they never saw each other again."

Driver's mother says daughter fled because she was scared 07/03/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 3, 2010 11:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  2. Spanish PM voices solidarity with Barcelona


    BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country is mourning in solidarity with the city of Barcelona and other cities in Europe that have been hit by deadly extremist attacks.

    An injured person is treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. [Associated Press]
  3. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand


    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  5. Hillsborough County erects wooden barrier to protect Confederate monument from vandalism

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County workers began constructing a wooden barrier around the base of the Confederate monument by the old county courthouse Thursday evening.

    A Hillsborough County construction crew erects a wooden barrier around the Confederate monument at the old county courthouse Thursday, out of concern about potential vandalism. [Courtesy of WTSP]