Florida Supreme Court overturns one of Dontae Morris’s death sentences

By Josh Rojas, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018, 10:38 AM EST

The Florida Supreme Court overturned Dontae Morris’ death sentence on Thursday for the murder of Derek Anderson because the jury that sentenced him did not vote unanimously for the death penalty.

  • Morris shot, killed Anderson in May 2010
  • Morris already facing two other death sentences
  • Hillsborough County State Attorney may seek new death sentence

The jury in that case voted 10 to 2 for the death sentence. Morris shot and killed Anderson, 21, outside his mother’s Tampa apartment back in May of 2010.

Morris is already facing two death sentences for murdering Tampa Police officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab in June of 2010. The jury was unanimous in that case and last year the court upheld those sentences.

Defense attorney Kevin Hayslett, who’s not connected to the case, said he believes the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office may seek a new death sentence for Morris as a matter of principle.

“For the law enforcement community, for the prosecutor’s office, this case is personal,” he said. “You can only kill a person once. However… if there’s ever a case where they say we don’t care about the money, we care about the principle, this is that case.”

Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office communications director Rena Frazier said they need to “make an analysis” before deciding whether to seek a new death sentence for Morris. Hayslett said on average it takes about 15 to 20 years before a defendant is executed after being sentenced to death.