Orlando, FL - In an executive order issued on Thursday afternoon, Florida Governor Rick Scott removed State Attorney Aramis Ayala from prosecuting the Markeith Loyd case for her refusal to seek the death penalty.
In a statement, issued by Governor Scott's office, he had asked for the State Attorney to recuse herself from the case after she announced in a press conference Thursday morning that she was not seeking the death penalty in the Markeith Loyd case. She said she had the discretion not to, and that she would not seek the death penalty for any case that was prosecuted by her while she was in office.
Many expressed outrage, including the president of the Orlando Fraternal Order of Police, Orlando Police Chief John Mina, State Representative Bob Cortes, Governor Scott, and Blue Lives Matter.
Then, Thursday afternoon, Governor Scott removed Aramis Ayala from the prosecution of Markeith Loyd. He reassigned the case to State Attorney Brad King. Governor Scott said:
"Earlier today, I called on State Attorney Ayala to immediately recuse herself from this case. She informed me this afternoon that she refuses to do that. She has made it clear that she will not fight for justice and that is why I am using my executive authority to immediately reassign the case to State Attorney Brad King."
"Let’s remember, Markeith Loyd is accused of executing a brave law enforcement hero and murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon. Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Norman Lewis was also killed while actively searching for Markeith Loyd following these heinous murders. I am outraged and sickened by this loss of life and many families’ lives have been forever changed because of these senseless murders. These families deserve a state attorney who will aggressively prosecute Markeith Loyd to the fullest extent of the law and justice must be served.”
In January, Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton was shot by Loyd and then executed, as he stood over her continuing to shoot her as she lay on the ground. He was a fugitive at that time, wanted for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her unborn child. He faced first degree murder charges in both of those cases.
Orange County Deputy Norman Lewis was killed in a motorcycle crash after Lieutenant Clayton's shooting while he was assisting in the search for Loyd.
Other charges are pending against Loyd including Attempted First Degree Murder where he shot at an Orange County Deputy after murdering Lieutenant Clayton.
Blue Lives Matter is glad to see a Governor like Rick Scott who isn't afraid to stand up for justice.
Thank you, Governor Scott, for seeking justice for the families of Lieutenant Clayton, Deputy Lewis, and Sade Dixon, and for standing up for police officers everywhere. We wish there were more like you, who aren't afraid to step up and do the right thing.