A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office records and ID clerk who declined to place a detainer on a man police said killed two Tampa officers last month acted within police guidelines, JSO Undersheriff Frank Mackesy said Friday in a news release.
Mackesy said a review of the events surrounding Dontae Morris' outstanding warrant in Jacksonville showed the clerk exercised proper judgment and diligence in the performance of her duties.
JSO was contacted six months prior to Morris' release from a state correctional facility in April, Mackesy said.
He said the clerk was aware of the capias and carefully searched the databases for a Jacksonville resident by that name. No record for Dontae Morris of Jacksonville was found, Mackesy said.
Mackesy said the clerk also determined that not only was the individual referenced in the Department of Corrections communication possibly another individual, she discovered that the Dontae Morris in the custody of the state was incarcerated at the time police said he wrote three bad checks on Jacksonville's Westside, making it implausible that the warrants had a factual basis.
Mackesy said not only did the employee act within policy guidelines, but she also possibly prevented a wrongful arrest that would have resulted in an almost immediate release of Morris.
Morris, 24, is accused of shooting and killing two Tampa police officers during an early-morning traffic stop. The officers pulled him over after seeing the bad check warrants in Jacksonville. Morris later surrendered to police.
Officers led an intense manhunt for Morris in the days leading up to his arrest.
Morris is also suspected in two other slayings, and he faces a third murder charge in the May shooting death of a man killed outside his family's apartment.