Orlando, FL - After State Attorney Aramis Ayala decided to throw out the death penalty for Markeith Loyd, Orlando Sentinel decided to check on the charges against the people accused of assisting Loyd. They discovered that charges were dropped.
Markeith Loyd's niece Lakensha Smith-Loyd, former boss Zarghee Mayan, and ex-girlfriend Jameis Slaughter, had been arrested assisting for Loyd during his crime spree.
Both Mayan and Slaughter were arrested after being accused of helping Loyd evade capture from the December 13, 2016 murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon. The reasons for the prosecutor's decision are not clear.
In court documents that were filed on Wednesday, Ayala's Assistant State Attorney, Kelly Barbara Hicks, said that the cases were "not suitable for prosecution."
They faced felony charges of accessory after the fact. Slaughter also has a still-pending misdemeanor charge of giving a false name to law enforcement.
Orlando Police Detectives first met with Mayan the day after Dixon's murder. Mayan was Loyd's boss at New Texas Fried Chicken on Orange Blossom Trail and he told the detectives a story that Loyd came into the restaurant with a gun, demanding Mayan drive him and threatening to kill him if he didn't.
Mayan then drove Loyd to a house off Lee Road, where Loyd got out. He told detectives he couldn't remember exactly which house it was but did give them the general area.
Detectives went to talk with Mayan a second time, after the January 9th murder of Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton. They said Mayan had a different story about that night, and also said that Loyd had come into the restaurant two days before Lieutenant Clayton was killed, asking for food.
In February, prosecutors declined to file charges against Loyd's niece Lakensha Smith-Loyd, who was also arrested during the manhunt for Loyd. She was accused of helping Loyd by picking up his last paycheck. State Attorney's Office spokeswoman said that there wasn't enough evidence to prove the case.
Loyd's ex-girlfriend, Jameis Slaughter, was accused of giving conflicting stories about whether or not she had seen Loyd after Lieutenant Clayton's murder. She also lied and gave detectives her twin sister's name when asked what her name was.
It's very possible that these charges were dropped because there was not enough evidence to convict the suspects. However, given the events of Thursday involving State Attorney Amaris Ayala, it leaves us to wonder if the charging decisions were somehow influenced by Ayala and her criminal-loving attitude.
Either way, dropping charges sends the message that it's OK for people to assist wanted killers.
Do you think that the charges were dropped due to Ayala's attitude in the case? We'd like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the comments.