TAMPA, Fla. (970 WFLA) - Jurors have found Dontae Morris guilty of shooting and killing two Tampa police officers during a traffic stop three years ago.
Video of officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab being shot and killed, was shown in the trial. Morris's defense attorneys argued it was a case of mistaken identity. Morris did not testify in the trial.
The verdict came down after more than four hours of deliberations. Deliberations began around 3:30pm and the verdict was handed down around 7:30pm Friday.
Judge William Fuente says the sentencing phase for Morris could start next Tuesday.
The Tampa Police Department said the following via facebook after the verdict:
"A verdict can't bring jeff and Dave back or ease the pain of losing them, but it can provide all of us with some closure and peace. This has been a hard week for the victims' families and for our TPD family. We all relived the horror of June 29th, 2010, but it's something we had to do to ensure justice was served. We will continue to rally around the victims' families and as a department we will ensure Jeff and Dave are never forgotten - they gave their lives for our community and today the jury recognized their sacrifice," according to the TPD.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn also released a statement in response to the conviction. It said in part:
“Officers Kocab and Curtis were fathers, husbands, friends, and they both faithfully protected our community. The entire city has been affected by the loss of Jeff and Dave, the subsequent manhunt, and the trial this week. It was an event that changed this community," Buckhorn said.