The trial of a man accused of shooting two Tampa police officers at point-blank range got underway Tuesday with video that shocked the entire courtroom.
Prosecutors showed dashcam video that they say showed Dontae Morris shooting and killing Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab.
It happened during a traffic stop in 2010.
FOX 13's Gloria Gomez said the entire courtroom was stunned by the video; some jurors had their hands over their mouths.
"These were devastating gunshot wounds, and make no doubt about it, when they suffered these gunshot wounds, they dropped," state prosecutor Scott Harmon said Tuesday morning. "And (Morris) is stumbling over their bodies."
Morris' attorney Karen Meeks said her client was the victim of a case of mistaken identity. Meeks said a man who looks like Morris and used the same name shot the officers, not her client.
"On June 29, 2010, Dontae Morris' life, this person's life, was turned upside down," Meeks said. "He knew that there were multiple jurisdictions looking for a person named Dontae Morris, and he knew that what can only be described as a manhunt was underway. His life was in danger."
It was a weeklong ordeal back in June 2010. According to police, Morris was with his girlfriend - Cortnee Brantley - the night of the shootings. Police say he was the gunman, she was driving the car, and both fled the scene.
On Tuesday, prosecutors read the text messages between Brantley and Morris so the jury could hear them in their opening statements. According to prosecutors, Morris told Brantley to "stay loyal" to him.
After the shootings, investigators did catch up with Brantley, who they say refused to cooperate. Then after a four-day manhunt, Morris turned himself into police late that Friday night.
Jury selection was tough for this case. It was moved to Orange County because of all the media attention here in Hillsborough County.
Still, many people had either heard about the case or had already formed opinions.
If convicted, Morris could face the death penalty. He's already been convicted of murder in a separate case.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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