Appeals for Dontae Morris will be lengthy, and costly - FOX 13 News

Appeals for Dontae Morris will be lengthy, and costly

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It took the jury less than an hour to decide that Dontae Morris should die for killing two Tampa police officers.

"If there is an instance where death penalty is applicable, this is it," Chief Jane Castor said.

So what's next for the convicted killer? The judge will likely issue a written order imposing the death penalty in a few weeks, although there is a chance he could go against the jury's wishes.

If he does impose the death penalty, by law, that sentence will be directly appealed to the state supreme court.

"That process could take a year and a half to two years," said Joe Bodiford.

There are of course, other appeals that could come long before Morris ever faces the death chamber.

Bodiford is an adjunct law professor at Stetson University.

"I'm sure Mr. Morris will try anything and everything once he gets in the state prison system," he said.

Expect him to be in the system for a while. The average length of stay on death row in Florida prior to execution is about 13 years. It costs just under $50 a day to house an inmate, that's just shy of $18,000 a year. Multiply that by 13 and you're looking at well over $200,000.

Morris has already cost taxpayers a pretty penny when you factor in the original manhunt, jail housing and his trial, which included housing a jury from Orlando.

"This case could've easily cost taxpayers in excess of $1.5 million," Bodiford estimated.

Despite the numbers, Bodiford reminds us rushing a death sentence is never wise.

"Let the system run its course. Let every piece of evidence be tested, every possible issue be tested, and let the right thing happen," he said.

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