Sentencing day finally arrives for Dontae Morris

May 30, 2014 

Dontae Morris, 28, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis, who were shot during a traffic stop during the early morning hours of June 29, 2010. Bay News 9.


TAMPA -- The jury voted unanimously when it recommended the death penalty for Dontae Morris.

Now, the convicted killer of two Tampa police officers will learn if a judge agrees with the jury's decision.

Despite being convicted more than six months ago in the 2010 murders of officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis, legal wrangling has kept Morris from being sentenced.

Those delays have run out and Morris, 28, will appear before Judge William Fuente today.

The last delay came earlier this month when lawyers for Morris successfully argued a motion to delay sentencing because of a federal grand jury investigation into a former police detective and how he handled several cases, including Morris'.

Morris was found guilty in November of the officers' murders.

Legal analyst Kevin Hayslett said there should be little drama in court today.

"In this case, we've got a 12-0 recommendation of death," Hayslett said. "If it's 7-5 or less, it's usually automatic life in prison. If it's above 7-5, then the judge must give the jury's recommendation great weight. Ultimately the judge decides, giving the jury's recommendation great weight. In this case, we've got a 12-0 recommendation for death.

"This is a very easy decision in death cases. My expectation without a doubt is he will get a death recommendation."

Fuente's decision today will actually be a sentence and not a recommendation.

There will be some other motions Fuente will need to rule on today before handing down a sentence but he is expected to finally hand down a ruling.

Morris is already serving a life sentence for an earlier murder conviction and he still has to go on trial for two additional murders cases.

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