Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Morris faces judge on fourth murder charge

TAMPA — Facing a judge Saturday morning on his fourth murder charge, Dontae Morris was appointed the same regional public defender who will represent him in the killings of two Tampa police officers and another Tampa man.

Morris, 24, was charged Friday in the June 8 death of 25-year-old Harold Wright, a killing that Hills­borough County sheriff's deputies said was the result of a drug-related robbery.

Circuit Judge Jack Espinosa Jr. ordered Morris held without bond in the Wright case.

He is already being held at the county jail without bail on charges he killed Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab early June 29 and 21-year-old Derek Anderson on May 18. Police say Morris remains a person of interest in an unspecified fifth Tampa homicide.

Wright of Valrico was found dead on the side of the road next to a rented blue Dodge Charger in the 2000 block of S 51st Street in Palm River. Sheriff's investigators linked Morris to Wright's death through fingerprints on the car, an arrest affidavit states.

Stephen Fisher, a regional conflict lawyer, said last week that his office would represent Morris in state court. The state-funded regional conflict offices represent defendants in cases where public defenders cite conflicts of interest.

Fisher appeared with Morris on Saturday via closed-circuit television from the Orient Road Jail and asked that his office also be appointed in the Wright case. Espinosa granted the request.

Morris, surrounded by four deputies, said nothing, but nodded toward the judge before he walked away.

Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt's office said it could not represent Morris because of its involvement with Cortnee Brantley, the woman police say drove the car the night the officers were killed.

Brantley has since hired a private lawyer, Grady Irvin, to represent her on a charge of misprision of a felony, a federal law that makes it illegal to witness a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and not report it.

Kim Wilmath can be reached at (813) 661-2442 or

Morris faces judge on fourth murder charge 07/10/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 10, 2010 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


     Winner of the week

    Peter Antonacci. Gov. Rick Scott tapped his go-to utility player to lead his Florida job recruiting agency, Enterprise Florida, having previously picked him for his general counsel, to lead the South Florida Water Management District and to serve as Palm Beach state …

  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table


    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers


    Walk 6.2 kilometers


    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  3. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  4. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  5. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.