TAMPA, Fla. - The judge in the first Dontae Morris murder trial dismissed the jury pool Wednesday morning. Morris is accused of killing a man outside of a club in 2010. He still faces charges of killing two Tampa police officers and two other men.
Judge William Fuentes dismissed the jurors citing the intense publicity surrounding Morris, making it difficult to seat a panel.
He also said that some potential jurors had discussed the officer killings against his instructions, tainting the pool.
A pool of 200 potential panel members was originally selected. That number was down to 70 on Wednesday when Fuentes made his announcement.
He said a change of venue for the next round of jury selection is a strong possibility.
Police say Morris shot and killed Rodney Jones in May, 2010, after he left the Cotton Club, on North Albany Avenue in Tampa. The murder occurred just one month before he allegedly killed officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab.
Investigators claim Morris also killed another man the same month he shot Jones, one more in April and then killed officers Curtis and Kocab during a traffic stop in June.
Morris became the focus of one of the largest manhunts in Tampa's history. He eventually surrendered.
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