When someone murders the people who serve and protect us, justice screams for the ultimate punishment. And so it was on Friday when Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente sentenced Dontae Morris for murdering Tampa Police officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis on June 29, 2010.
Morris ruthlessly shot and killed the officers while they were taking him into custody on an outstanding warrant — often dangerous work that officers do every day.
The jury clearly was convinced that Morris should pay with his life. The panel, by a vote of 12-0, recommended death, and Fuente appropriately agreed.
“This sentence is not about revenge, but justice,” Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor posted on the department’s Facebook page. “This sends a clear message that what he did was inexcusable — it sends a message to anyone who dares to harm a protector of society that you will be held accountable. Jeff and Dave protected those who couldn’t protect themselves. We will always honor their memory and support their families.”
Indeed, this sentence is about justice. The death penalty is under attack in many states. Opponents call it inhumane. But the vicious murders of Kocab and Curtis powerfully show there are cases where capital punishment is not only appropriate but necessary.
A civilized society should not tolerate such outrageous acts.
Morris, 28, already is serving a life prison sentence for the murder of another man, and he faces two more murder trials in the killing of two others. Clearly, our community is safer with this monster off the streets. It will be even safer when he takes his last breath.
Yes, it will probably take years, but it will be worth the wait for what he has done to our community and to two dedicated officers and their families.