“If there was any a case for the death penalty, this is the case.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott has decided to reassign the Markeith Loyd case, the man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and a police officer, after State Attorney Aramis Ayala decided not to seek the death penalty. An executive order handed the case to Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brad King.
The decision today caused outrage in Florida, especially from Orlando Police Chief John Mina:
“If there was any a case for the death penalty, this is the case,” Mina said. “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.”
Here is Scott’s EO:
— Cuthbert Langley (@CLangleyWFTV) March 16, 2017
Scott voiced his displeasure for Ayala’s decision earlier in the day:
“I completely disagree with State Attorney Ayala’s decision and comments,” Scott said. “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 even asked Ayala to recuse herself from the case since she did not want to seek the death penalty.
This is the statement from Mina:
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) March 16, 2017
State Attorney Aramis Ayala claimed on Thursday that “she had studied the issue and decided her office would not seek the death penalty in any cases, saying capital punishment in Florida had led to ‘chaos, uncertainty, and turmoil.'”
Ayala also said evidence has shown her the death penalty as too “expensive, slow, inhumane and did not increase public safety.”
Mina is not the only one in Florida upset by Ayala’s decision:
Similarly, state Attorney General Pam Bondi, also a Republican, said it “sends a dangerous message” not to seek the death penalty.
“It is a blatant neglect of duty and a shameful failure to follow the law as a constitutionally elected officer,” Bondi said.
Shawn Dunlap, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Orlando Lodge 25, slammed the decision as an “epic injustice.”
“The death penalty is the law of the land in the state of Florida, and I believe that if there ever was a case for its use this would be the one,” Dunlap said.
Mina also said he will ask his department’s legal team if they can do anything to change Ayala’s decision:
“If there is something that can be done, certainly we will be full throttle and go forward with that,” Mina said. “We believe that this should be determined by a jury, if he gets the death penalty.”
Despite the decision, Mina said he knows Orlando police will “continue being the professional officers we are.”
“They’re going to continue to risk their lives to keep this community safe,” he said. “If anything, it just gives them more resolve to fight crime and protect this community.”
Loyd allegedly killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon outside of her home on December 13. He escaped.
A person spotted him on January 9 and told Lt. Debra Clayton, who patrolled the area. She attempted to arrest him, but Loyd shot at her. When Clayton retreated, “Loyd followed her, police said, shooting and killing her while she was on the ground.”