TAMPA BAY - Ever since a jury convicted Cortnee Brantley on federal charges for her role in the murders of two Tampa police officers, it's been three stressful weeks for the family of the victims.
That's because even though a jury found Brantley guilty, the judge withheld judgment in the case until Wednesday, when he confirmed the jury's decision.
"I actually jumped out of my chair and screamed, I was so happy," said Cindy Warren, speaking from her home in Daphne, Alabama. Warren is the mother of officer David Curtis, who was killed June 29, 2010, along with his partner, Jeffrey Kocab.
"I was afraid, because of the delay, that the judge was going to throw out the case," Warren said. "I was afraid we would not get any satisfaction from this."
Brantley was convicted on an obscure charge that she failed to notify the officers that her boyfriend, Dontae Morris, was armed with a weapon and ammunition from out-of-state. Her first trial ended in a hung jury. Morris has yet to go to trial on state charges as the prime suspect in the shootings.
Warren has worked with Sandy Kocab, the mother of Jeffery Kocab, to raise money for a foundation helping survivors of police killings. Together they have worked with people trying to deal with the aftermath of a sudden family tragedy.
"His death has affected people as far as California," Warren said. "Here in this community, he was known as 'Coach Dave,'" she said. "To know that 'Coach Dave' was no longer with us rocked our world over here," Warren said, speaking about Curtis's hometown in Alabama.
Warren said what made the judge's decision so emotional was her belief that Brantley was ultimately responsible for the situation that led to the murders. Brantley was a student at the time, and Warren said she should have stayed at home studying instead of riding around late at night with Morris.
"Her decisions alone ended up resulting in my son's death," Warren said. "If she had made better decisions, my son may still be alive."
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UPDATE: The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph.