Dontae Morris found guilty, penalty phase begins Tuesday | News
Tampa, Florida- The jury found Dontae Morris guilty on all charges in relation to the slayings of Tampa officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab.
He was charged with two counts of first degree murder and one count of escaping during transport.
"There is no verdict that is going to bring Jeff and Dave back or ease the pain of their loss. But tonight at least this verdict gives us some closure," said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor during a post trial news conference.
The case was handed to the jury around 3:30 Friday after both prosecutors and the defense delivered closing arguments. They deliberated over evidence and testimony for 4 hours.
Morris' defense attorney, Byron Hileman made a motion for a mistrial three times over the course of the trial. Hileman's final request Thursday came over concern that the police officers who identified his client, Morris, through voice recognition were "biased and unreliable."
The request, and denial from the judge, for mistrial was the beginning of a highly dramatic day in court Thursday. The prosecution finished presenting its case after strong testimony from a Hillsborough Detention Deputy, a Metro PCS representative, a fingerprint specialist and former evidence tech.
See Also: Dontae Morris' ex: He said 'he did it'
The defense made their very brief case Friday. They told 10 News they had a short witness list, "only one or two people."
Family members of both slain officers were in court for the emotional conclusion Friday night. Kelly Curtis, the widow of Officer Dave Curtis spoke on behalf of the Kocab family, thanking the community for their support.
"We're very pleased with the outcome of the trial and are relieved he is not going to be able to hurt another person from our community," said Curtis.
The family on Dontae Morris had few words on their way out of the courthouse. "We're sorry too," said Morris' step-father Gary Watson.
In addition to the police killings, Morris is awaiting trial in two other murder cases and was convicted earlier this year of yet another murder.
More on the Dontae Morris Trial:
- First day of the Dontae Morris trial filled with emotion
- Dontae Morris smirks in court, widows cry during testimony
- Ex-girlfriend: He said "he did it"
- Cops: Morris sends texts to girlfriend minutes after murders