Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Public safety

Slain Tampa police officer's mother holds yard sale to fund trip for defendant's trial

Cindy Warren is selling furniture, toys and knick-knacks in a yard sale near Highway 104 in Silverhill, Ala. to raise money for a trip to Tampa. It's not a vacation she's seeking, but justice for her slain son.

The coastal Alabama woman is the mother of Tampa Police Officer David Curtis, who was gunned down along with his partner Jeffrey Kocab during a June 2010 traffic stop. The man charged with the slayings, Dontae Morris, is scheduled to stand trial next month. And Warren plans to be in the courtroom every day of the proceedings.

"I just have to shut my life down for this murder trial and that's just, it's overwhelming," Warren told WKRG-TV of Mobile, Ala.

Morris' attorneys told a judge Friday they have been hamstrung in their efforts to prepare a worst-case, post-conviction strategy for their client. Against their advice, the 28-year-old Morris has said that if convicted he does not wish to present evidence that might sway jurors not to recommend a death sentence.

Warren is trying to raise enough money to cover her bills and travel expenses during the trial.

She plans to stay in Tampa for as long as a month.

So far she's touched by the support she's received. Several people browsing the yard sale behind Silverhill Storage Plus have left money in her cash jar without buying anything.

"If I raise $2,000 or $3,000, you know, God's blessing me. I'm good," Warren said.

The slain officer's mother took a similar approach to raising money for travel when her son's name was placed on the police memorial in Washington, D.C. She ended up with about $11,000 for that trip.

Suzanne Hicks said she came to the yard sale from Monroeville just so she could help Warren.

"I just admire her strength for this," Hicks said.

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