Dontae Morris sentenced to life in prison - WFLA News Channel 8

Dontae Morris sentenced to life in prison

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Dontae Morris was sentenced to life in prison in front of Judge William Fuente in a Tampa courtroom Friday. Morris was found guilty of first degree murder and attempted armed robbery in connection with the death of Rodney Jones outside the Cotton Club in 2010.

A jury from Orlando deliberated for five and a half hours before returning with a guilty verdict.

Rodney Jones' family members were present at the hearing Friday. Both his sister Daphne Stephens and his uncle told the court they hoped Morris would get a maximum sentence after the verdict was announced over a week ago.

Jones' sister Lasonja Houston said after the hearing Friday, the sentence gave her a relief.

"Although it was very challenging speaking on my last memory of him, but it's almost as if a burden had been lifted off of me," she said.

She added that Rodney Jones was a special person and a good brother.

"He was a magnificent uncle to all of his nephews and niece, only has one niece,"  Houston said. "And just, I mean, a family's son, nephew, and he was just a great person."

Jones is the first of five people Morris is accused of killing in 2010, including two Tampa police officers, Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis. 

 
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