TAMPA — An attorney for convicted murderer Dontae Morris is asking that his client be given more visitation privileges and phone rights while in the Hillsborough County Jail.
Morris has been housed by himself in a single cell since he was arrested in July of 2010 on charges he gunned down Tampa police officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab on June 29 of that year. He has been convicted of those murders and is scheduled to be sentenced next week; he also is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of another man, Rodney Jones, and faces two more murder trials in the slayings of Harold Wright and Derek Anderson.
Attorney Byron Hileman filed a motion this week in Hillsborough County Circuit Court asking that Morris receive the standard visitation and phone privileges. He said the jail severely restricts who is allowed to visit Morris and that he does not think Morris is allowed to use the phone.
“He is more restricted than most people who are in isolation cells,” Hileman said.
Hileman plans to argue the motion May 30 before the sentencing phase begins.
Larry McKinnon, a spokesman with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, said Morris has been housed separately from other inmates since he was arrested. He said he could not comment specifically on Morris’ case because of the pending motion but said several factors are taken into account when deciding where an inmate is housed and what privileges they are given.
Those factors include security for the inmate, other inmates and the staff, he said.
“There is a whole spectrum of reasons why anybody can be put into an isolation cell,” McKinnon said.
Morris has caused problems at the jail before.
About two weeks after his arrest in 2010, a deputy in charge of watching Morris in his cell said the inmate asked her for some toilet paper and then began to openly masturbate, according to a sheriff’s office incident report. The report states Morris also paced, sat on his desk and picked at his toenails until they bled. Morris refused to see a nurse for the bleeding, the report says.
The deputy called her supervisors, who had Morris put in a restraint chair for three hours.