Dontae Morris murder trial day 3: crime scene evidence - WFLA News Channel 8

Dontae Morris murder trial day 3: crime scene evidence

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Dontae Morris Dontae Morris
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Defense attorneys began the third day of testimony in the Dontae Morris murder trial by moving for a mistrial.

Morris is charged with the first degree murder of Tampa Police officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab in June of 2010.

The defense says a key piece of evidence in the case is giving the state an unfair advantage.

On the night the officers were killed, a camera mounted in the car of Officer Curtis recorded the entire event.

There have been strict rules set out by the court that control who can and cannot see the video.

Defense attorney Byron Hileman moved for a mistrial, because he says the rules on the recording have given prosecutors an unfair advantage.

"We could not go out and show lay witnesses who might have knowledge of this situation or might have knowledge of Mr. Morris and say, do you recognize that voice? Or, do you recognize that individual? We couldn't do that, the state did and we see that as a due process problem.", said Hileman.

Hileman says six Tampa Police officers have now testified that they can recognize the voice of Morris in the recording, and Hileman contends that's a disadvantage for the defense.

"It creates an inherent disadvantage for the defense and yet the state showed it to a number of officers, we don't know how many," said Hileman.

Judge William Fuente denied the defense motion for a mistrial.

Related: more about Dontae Morris case

After two days of dramatic testimony in the Dontae Morris murder trial, the third day ground on with the mundane but necessary testimony of crime scene evidence.

In the first day of testimony, a veteran Tampa Police officer briefly broke down on the witness stand as he told jurors about coming on the scene and seeing Curtis and Kocab laying on the ground.
Related story: Dontae Morris trial emotional for police officers, psychologist says

Thursday prosecutors brought crime scene technicians to the witness stand who informed jurors of the step by step process of collecting evidence.

In a television drama, the process of collecting evidence is exciting and compelling. The public has come to expect the drama, some in the legal and law enforcement community have even come to refer to this as the, "C.S.I. effect."

In real life, the function of evidence collection is more mundane. Danielle Larkin is now a sworn officer with the Tampa Police Department.

In 2010, she was the crime scene tech charged with processing the red Toyota Camry driven by Cortnee Brantley on the night Curtis and Kocab were murdered. Larkin told jurors she found numerous prints in the car.

A fingerprint specialist with the Tampa Police department was the next witness on the stand. Susan Delage explained to jurors that three fingerprints found in the car belong to Brantley, but none can be tied to Morris.

The state is expected to conclude their case on Friday.

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