ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – A controversial decision by an Orlando prosecutor in the trial of an accused cop killer has led Governor Rick Scott to demand that she recuse herself from the case.
Aramis Ayala, State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, announced Thursday that “will not be seeking the death penalty in cases handled in my office.”
Ayala’s office will be prosecuting Markeith Loyd, who is charged with killing Lt. Debra Clayton of the Orlando Police Department.
Scott wants her to step aside.
“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,” said Scott in a statement. “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.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi also weighed in.
“State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s decision today sends a dangerous message to residents and visitors of the greater Orlando area—furthermore, it is a blatant neglect of duty and a shameful failure to follow the law as a constitutionally elected officer,” wrote Bondi in a statement.
Florida law gives Ayala the discretion to make the decision on whether to pursue the death penalty or not.
Ayala said that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime. She added that it also does not provide justice to victim’s families, who often get dragged through years of court appeals.