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Dontae Morris Trial: TPD officers' accused killer faces execution

12:31 PM, Nov 12, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- The murder trial began Tuesday for Dontae Morris.

Detectives say he killed two of Tampa's finest, then forced the biggest manhunt in the history of the city before eventually turning himself in.

Morris is charged with first degree murder. He's accused of surprising and shooting Tampa Police Officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis during a traffic stop in East Tampa in 2010.

The trial is expected to last just a handful of days. In that time, jurors will see dash cam video from a police cruiser that investigators say recorded the crime.

But prominent Bay area defense attorney Barry Cohen says even though the evidence may seem overwhelming, there's no such thing as a sure conviction in a courtroom.

He cautioned that juries do sometimes arrive at unexpected verdicts, and the evidence presented by the state has to match up with first degree murder to get a guilty verdict.

The jury is from the Orlando area and was picked there after Judge William Fuente ruled Morris could not get a fair trial from a Hillsborough County jury.

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.

This is the only case against Morris where the state is seeking the death penalty.

10 News reporter Melanie Michael will be in the courtroom all week with live reports at on 10 News at Noon, 5, and 6.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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