Jury recommends death penalty for Dontae Morris - WFLA News Channel 8

Jury recommends death penalty for Dontae Morris

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - A jury has recommended the death penalty for Dontae Morris, the man convicted of killing two Tampa Police officers.

The vote was unanimous, with all 12 jurors voting in favor of the death penalty.  Judge William Fuente will make the final decision on whether to accept that recommendation.

Testimony started Tuesday morning in the penalty phase of Morris' murder trial.  Last Friday, jurors found Morris guilty of first-degree murder. Morris was convicted of killing Rodney Jones in May of 2010.  The murders of Kocab and Curtis happened just one month after Jones' death.

Related story: Guilty verdict in Dontae Morris trial

Under Florida law, when the jury convicted Morris on two counts of first-degree murder for the officers' death, the jury is then required to come back for the penalty phase.

As testimony began, the jury heard for the first time that Morris has already been convicted of killing Jones outside of the Cotton Club.

The state then called Kelly Curtis, wife of David Curtis to the stand. In a calm, clear voice, Kelly Curtis told the jury her life will never be the same without her husband.

The couple were married for ten years and have four sons together. Curtis told the jury, "he was my husband, my soul mate, my best friend."

She then told jurors that she now has the lone responsibility to raise four children and has even had to teach their 12-year-old son how to shave.

Curtis says she also struggles to keep the memory of the boys father alive, three years after his death. Curtis told the jury, "My two year old asked, where's my daddy, my daddy's in heaven right? The bad guy shot my daddy."

Sitting just a few feet away, Dontae Morris showed no emotion in the courtroom as Curtis told jurors, "Every day I wish I could erase what happened that night so I don't have to rely on pictures to remind them of Dave."

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