Dontae Morris found guilty of killing two Tampa police officers - FOX 13 News

Dontae Morris found guilty of killing two Tampa police officers

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Kelly Curtis thanks the dozens of officers standing behind her.) Kelly Curtis thanks the dozens of officers standing behind her.)
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Jurors in the trial of Dontae Morris found him guilty of shooting and killing two Tampa police officers.

The verdict came down after a little more than four hours of deliberations.

There was little outward reaction in the courtroom as the verdict was read. But afterward, Chief Jane Castor spoke, holding back tears and pausing at moments to keep composure.  

She said the verdict wrapped up an emotional week, and a very difficult three years.

"It's been a very long three years for everyone's been very, very difficult," she said. "This verdict gives us some closure and a little bit of relief. It has been a very tough week."

Officer Curtis's widow Kelly gave a brief statement, saying she was pleased with the outcome of the trial.

"On behalf of Sarah and myself, we would like to say thank you. Thank you for all the support we have received from the community," she said.

She added that she was relieved Dontae Morris would not be able to hurt anyone else. Finally, she turned to the dozens of members of the Tampa Police Department standing behind her, and thanked them.

"We couldn't have done it without you guys," she said.


The trial included video of officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab being shot and killed, taken from the dashcam of their cruiser.

Prosecutors argued it was clear-cut evidence of Morris's guilt.

Morris's defense attorneys argued it was a case of mistaken identity.

Morris did not testify in the  trial.

Prosecutors rested their cases against Morris, after spending the last week painting him as a cold-blooded killer. They focused on hearsay and the dash cam video that allegedly showed Morris shooting and killing the officers.

There wasn't much forensic evidence in this case, but prosecutors told jurors that's OK. They believed there was much other evidence against Morris.

Jurors on Thursday heard testimony from a sheriff's deputy that says he overheard Morris, after the arrest, say "I repent for killing." The court also heard from crime scene investigators saying there was no DNA evidence from Morris found in Cortnee Brantley's car. They say she was driving the night of the shootings.

Even without DNA, prosecutors said the dash cam video clearly showed Morris was the killer. They played video of him saying and spelling his name and birthdate, and the information matched.

Closing arguments wrapped up Friday afternoon; jurors got the case not long after 3 p.m.

Morris will be sentenced Tuesday.

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