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Officers David Curtis, Jeffrey Kocab mourned as legal gears turn in Dontae Morris case

Sara Kocab, second from left, widow of slain Tampa police Officer Jeffrey A. Kocab, watches Tori Howell make an impression of Kocab’s name on the Tampa Police Memorial in front of police headquarters downtown on Monday.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Sara Kocab, second from left, widow of slain Tampa police Officer Jeffrey A. Kocab, watches Tori Howell make an impression of Kocab’s name on the Tampa Police Memorial in front of police headquarters downtown on Monday.

TAMPA — At the granite marker memorializing her late husband, Sara Kocab came Monday to create a keepsake.

Almost a week after Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis became the 30th and 31st Tampa police officers killed in the line of duty, the widow stood at the memorial, still surrounded by flowers and flags and crucifixes, while a chaplain and his family etched impressions on paper from its engraving.

Jeff Howell, pastor of the Church of the Rock in Plant City who had given a eulogy at the officers' funeral Saturday, leaned against the memorial to make a rubbing from the name of the former Plant City Officer of the Year who had joined the Tampa force just 14 months ago: "Jeffrey A. Kocab."

The personal remembrance outside Tampa police headquarters came as authorities continue to turn up the pressure on those it said are related to the killings.

Kocab and Curtis were shot at a traffic stop in east Tampa a week ago. After a massive manhunt that lasted nearly four days, murder suspect Dontae Rashawn Morris surrendered at a law office Friday night.

Morris' sometimes girlfriend, Cortnee Brantley, is expected to stand before a judge today for her first appearance on charges relating to the deaths.

Police say Brantley was the driver and Morris was the passenger when he shot and killed the officers.

Brantley was arrested Friday on a federal charge of witnessing a felony but failing to report it.

On Sunday and again on Monday, Morris' brother Dwayne Callaway was denied bail on unrelated charges that arose while authorities investigated the killings.

Callaway, 21, was arrested Saturday on charges of drug possession and probation violation. He was denied bail Sunday, but his charges were upgraded to include being a felon in possession of a firearm. So he faced a judge again Monday and was again denied bail.

Although he is not charged with aiding Morris on the run, a police report from Callaway's arrest says he was identified by officers "as providing refuge."

Morris remains confined in the high-security wing of the Orient Road Jail.

In addition to being charged in the deaths of the two officers, Morris was charged over the weekend with the murder of Derek Anderson.

Anderson, 21, was shot to death May 18 at the Kenneth Court Apartments in east Tampa in what police are calling a robbery attempt.

In an arrest affidavit, police wrote that bullets recovered from the officers' killings "match and were identified as coming from the same firearm that killed Derek Anderson."

That weapon was not found, the report says.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Officers David Curtis, Jeffrey Kocab mourned as legal gears turn in Dontae Morris case 07/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 9:58am]
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