Jury seated for Dontae Morris trial - FOX 13 News

Jury seated for Dontae Morris trial

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Daphne Stephens can feel she's starting to withdraw.

"My husband realizes I just go in a shutdown mode."

She's beginning to get anxious, just like she did last summer. Last July, the trial for the murder of her brother was set to begin. Rodney Jones was killed on May 31st, 2010. Dontae Morris is accused in his death.

Morris is also the suspect in four other murders.

Jury selection began, but by day 2, the judge got word that some jurors had been talking.

There has been extensive media attention involving Dontae Morris, especially because he is accused of killing two Tampa Police Officers, as well.

A handful of the 200 potential jurors told others what they knew about Morris.

Judge William Fuente tried to continue on but realized the possibility the entire jury pool was tainted was too great.

At the time, he admonished those who spoke out.

"You know who you are," Judge Fuente said, adding, "If you are a juror who violated my order, you ought to be ashamed of yourself and not proud of yourself. that your actions created this situation."

The whole trial was canceled.

Now, it's eight months later and there is a jury selected to hear this case. But the jurors are from Orlando.

On Monday, the judge, his assistant, the prosecutor, the defense and Dontae Morris all took a ride to Orlando.

Within two days, they were able to seat a jury.

Eight men and seven women make up the jury.

This Sunday, they will report to the Orange County Courthouse. Judge Fuente told them what to expect next.

"The baliffs will meet you here, then you will be transported to Hillsborough County. You will be placed in a hotel and be accommodated and the trial would last about four days," he said.

It'll be costly, thousands of dollars, to put the 15 jurors and alternates in hotel rooms, feed them and transport them.

Daphne Stephens is grateful the men and woman are willing to serve.

"It's hard on us to be away from our family, so I'm really grateful to the jurors who are coming over, taking time from their families to serve on the jury, " Stephens said.

The cost will come from taxpayers. Daphne knows it's a lot, but says she doesn't her money going to get justice.

"If my taxpayer dollars has to go to something. So, I'd rather it go to someone's family receiving justice rather than go towards someone who maliciously committed a crime, and we're feeding him and housing him for the rest of his life."

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