Orlando, FL - Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced on Thursday that she will not seek the death penalty in the case of cop-killer Markeith Loyd.
According to The Orlando Sentinel, Ayala said in a news conference that seeking the death penalty in Loyd's case "is not in the best interest of the community or the best interest of justice.” She also claimed that the evidence and the statues did not support the death penalty.
Ayala used in defense of her decision her belief that the death penalty does not bring justice to victims' families, who she says are often dragged through court by years of appeals. And she said that it is used too rarely to be a deterrent to crime. But the real reason is that she said "Florida law gives her the discretion to make the decision."
Governor Rick Scott released a statement which said:
"I want to be very clear, Lt. Debra Clayton was executed while she was laying on the ground fighting for her life. She was killed by an evil murderer who did not think twice about senselessly ending her life. I completely disagree with State Attorney Ayala’s decision and comments and I am asking her to recuse herself immediately from this case. She has made it abundantly clear that she will not fight for justice for Lt. Debra Clayton and our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day.”
On Monday, March 13, 2017, Governor Scott signed a bill that would require an unanimous jury recommendation before the death penalty can be imposed, according to Fox News.
Under Florida Statute 775.082, the death penalty can be imposed if a person is convicted of a capital felony, according to the Florida Capital Resource Center. In the state of Florida, capital felonies include the charge of murder.
Markeith Loyd's charges include first-degree Murder in the execution of Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton and Attempted First-Degree Murder on a Law Enforcement Officer which occurred when Loyd shot at an Orange County Deputy during the manhunt.
Loyd has also been charged with First-Degree Murder in the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend in addition to a multitude of other charges.
State Representative Bob Cortes said that he was "outraged" by Ayala's decision not to seek the death penalty for Markeith Loyd and that he is “seeking whether this is a possible violation of public integrity by our State Attorney.”
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that he is "furious" at Ayala's decision. He said “If there was ever a case for the death penalty, this is the case. I’ve seen the video, so I know the state attorney has seen the video of (Loyd) standing over defenseless and helpless Lt. Debra Clayton and executing her.”
State Attorney General Pam Bondi, according to CNN, said that Ayala's decision was "a blatant neglect of duty and a shameful failure to follow the law as a constitutionally elected officer."
And let's not forget that she won her position as an upset victory over the incumbent, most likely due to a $975,000 donation from a political action committee linked to liberal George Soros, a funder of Black Lives Matter who is blatantly anti-police. That money was used on false ads accusing incumbent Jeff Ashton of enacting policies that were racially unfair.
Where is the justice for Lieutenant Debra Clayton? Where is the justice for Sade Dixon, Loyd's ex-girlfriend, and her unborn child? Ayala obviously does not deserve the position of responsibility that she was elected to, and should not only recuse herself from Loyd's case, but resign. Immediately.