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While discussing the Markeith Loyd case Thursday, State Attorney Aramis Ayala said she will not seek the death penalty during her administration.
Ayala said she made the decision after conducting a review.
The most visible case immediately affected by Ayala’s decision is Loyd’s, who is charged with killing Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton and his pregnant ex-girlfriend.
Ayala’s statement was made during a news conference she called to discuss her decision not to seek the death penalty in the Loyd case.
Ayala says there is no evidence of improved public safety for citizens or law enforcement with the death penalty, and that such cases are costly and drag on for years.
Ayala’s decision comes just days after Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill requiring a unanimous jury recommendation before the death penalty can be imposed.
Scott responded to the news conference by saying Ayala should recuse herself from the Loyd case.
Scott said he “completely disagrees” with Ayala’s decision as it applies to Loyd.
“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,” Scott said.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said “State Attorney Ayala’s decision is a blatant neglect of duty and a shameful failure to follow the law.”
Orlando police Chief John Mina told WESH 2 News that he is upset with Ayala’s decision.
Mina said he had spoken to Ayala, and he believes crimes like the ones Loyd is accused of are the reason for having the death penalty.