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Prosecutors stand firm on murder defendant Dontae Morris' jail visitation rights

TAMPA — Prosecutors aren't budging on Dontae Morris' visitation privileges.

In a response filed Thursday, assistant state attorney Scott Harmon wrote that Morris will likely try to contact, harass and manipulate witnesses "through whatever means."

Morris is accused of killing five people, including Tampa police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab. The officers were gunned down during a traffic stop on June 29, 2010.

For months, Morris was able to make phone calls from the jail until the Sheriff's Office recorded a call in which, they say, he was trying to find out what his ex-girlfriends were telling police.

They limited him to video conference calls from his mother and grandmother — a privilege that was suspended because he abused it, authorities say.

Morris would purposely schedule visits knowing his family wouldn't be attending, which would get him out of his cell. It caused extra work for the deputies, they say.

It was only a temporary punishment, and he's since been able to talk to his mother and grandmother.

However, his attorney, Byron Hileman, has been trying to include others on the visitation list, including Morris' sister.

In a response to Hileman's motion, Harmon wrote that Morris should "feel fortunate" that he has the privileges he currently enjoys.

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

Prosecutors stand firm on murder defendant Dontae Morris' jail visitation rights 12/02/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 2, 2011 11:06pm]
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