Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 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]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Quiet college dropout turned bomber: Who was Salman Abedi?


    LONDON — He was quiet and withdrawn, a college dropout who liked soccer — and, some say, showed alarming signs of being radicalized years before he walked into a pop concert at Britain's Manchester Arena and detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and 22 others.

    Salman Abedi was identified by British authorities as the man behind Monday’s attack.
  2. Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city


    MARAWI, Philippines — Backed by tanks and rocket-firing helicopters, Philippine troops launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear extremists linked to the Islamic State group from a city that has been under siege since a raid that failed to capture one of Asia's most-wanted militants.

    Soldiers fire at enemy positions Thursday while trying to clear the city of Marawi, Philippines, of armed militants.
  3. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  4. Seminole man accused of fracturing 8-month-old baby's leg


    Deputies arrested a Seminole man Thursday after he fractured an 8-month-old baby's bones, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

    Gary G. Gibeault of Seminole was arrested on a charge of aggravated child abuse.
  5. St. Petersburg's ballooning sewage debt could threaten credit rating (but there's a Hail Mary plan to avoid that)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city needs a lot of money — $435 million over the next five years — most of it to fix its leaky sewer pipes and aging sewer plants.

    In September 2016, signs at St. Petersburg’s North Shore Park warned people to stay out of the water due to contamination from sewage released by the city’s overwhelmed sewer system. The City Council on Thursday learned that the very expensive fix for its sewage woes could hamper the city’s credit rating. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]