Prosecutor Won't Seek Death Penalty, Fla. Governor Reacts

Gov. Rick Scott takes murder probe away from Aramis Ayala, hands it to Brad King
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2017 12:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Orlando's police chief said this week he was "extremely upset" to hear prosecutors wouldn't be going for the death penalty in the case of a man accused of killing a cop and his own ex-girlfriend, the Orlando Weekly reports. Those feelings may be soothed after hearing Florida Gov. Rick Scott's latest news: that he's reassigned Markeith Loyd's case to another attorney in a nearby district, USA Today reports. Instead of State Attorney Aramis Ayala of Orange County's 9th Judicial Circuit Court handling the first-degree murder probe, State Attorney Brad King will be taking on the case instead after Ayala refused to recuse herself, per a release from Scott's office. "These families deserve a state attorney who will aggressively prosecute Markeith Loyd to the fullest extent of the law," said Scott, who added he was "outraged" and "sickened" by the murders Loyd is accused of.

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Loyd has been hit with 11 counts of murder and firearm charges, among others, after allegedly killing his pregnant ex, Sade Dixon, in December, then gunning down Orlando Lt. Debra Clayton in January, per CNN. Ayala had noted before she was kicked off the case that, after "painstaking thought," she'd decided not to seek capital punishment in any cases, as she doesn't think it's effective or humane. "The death penalty traps many victims, families in a decades-long cycle of uncertainty," she noted, just two days after Scott signed a bill reinstituting the Florida death penalty, per the Sun Sentinel. While human rights groups like Amnesty International took Ayala's side, Orlando Police Chief John Mina railed against her in a statement, noting "heinous crimes" like the one Loyd is accused of "are the very reason" for capital punishment. (What will happen now to these 200-plus Florida death row inmates?)

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