Jury in Dontae Morris trial watch dramatic video of two Tampa officers being killed

TAMPA - Latest: The defense asked for a mistrial prior to noon recess on Wednesday.

The motion was denied.

At issue was testimony from officers who identified Dontae Morris as the person seen in a video played during trial.

The defense wanted the jury to decide if it was Morris.

Click the video player for a report from ABC Action News reporter Carson Chambers on Wednesday morning's proceedings.

Story will be updated.

Watch live coverage on ABC Action News Now:  http://  wfts.tv/V2uW2W.


Late Tuesday afternoon, jurors in the Dontae Morris murder trial watched the dramatic dash-cam video of two Tampa Police officers being killed.

"That same evidence will tell you that that vicious, cold-blooded killer is sitting in this courtroom today. He's sitting over here -- Dontae R. Morris," state prosecutor Scott Harmon said.

Dontae Morris could face death if convicted.

"Their bodies haven't hit the ground and this guy's tripping over them, the defendant, trying to get away," Harmon said.

Photos from trial here: http://bit.ly/1aErs7Y

The state's case against Morris took shape Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom, leaping out at jurors, in a flurry of accounts from the night of July 29, 2010.

"(Morris) comes up over his shoulder and shoots so quickly, shoots both of these officers in the head," Harmon said.

Tampa Police officers Dave Curtis and Jeff Kocab never had the chance to arrest Morris three years ago during a traffic stop.

They received two gunshots at close range, and the suspect left them lying in a heap on 50th Street.

Widow Kelly Curtis managed to smile on the stand when she identified her husband's penmanship.

"Do you recognize the handwriting on that notebook?" Curtis was asked.

"That's his handwriting," she replied. "Yes, it is."

Officer Curtis left the notebook on the front seat of his cruiser with Morris' name on it.

And there were other eyes watching.  A police dash-cam video captured the double shooting on tape.

The defense hinted the manhunt that followed was for the wrong suspect.

"If you can imagine on June 29, 2010, Dontae Morris' life, this person's life, was turned upside down. He knew that there were multiple jurisdictions looking for a person named Dontae Morris and he knew what can only be described as a manhunt was underway," said defense attorney Karen Meeks.

But prosecutors say Morris texted the driver that night, Cortnee Brantley.

Brantley, who fled the scene too, was allegedly told to keep quiet, and stay loyal.

"He then responds at 2:34 a.m., 'Yeah, just lean back. Stay loyal.'  Her response: 'Of course, 'til death do us part,'" Harmon said.

The trial is expected to last through the week. It resumes Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. You can watch live coverage on ABC Action News Now: http:// wfts.tv/V2uW2W.

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