Scott takes Kissimmee police deaths cases from anti-death penalty state attorney

Scott takes Kissimmee police deaths cases from anti-death penalty state attorney

Gov. Rick Scott has reassigned the homicide cases of two Kissimmee police officers from a state attorney who has said she would never seek the death penalty.

Scott signed an executive order taking the cases of Officers Matthew Baxter and Sam Howard from Aramiz Ayala and giving them to fellow state attorney Brad King.

“Last night’s violence against our law enforcement community is reprehensible and has no place in our state," Scott said. "In Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence and those who attack our law enforcement. Today, I am using my executive authority to reassign this case to State Attorney Brad King to ensure the victims of last night’s attack and their families receive the justice they deserve.”

In March, Ayala stirred controversy when she said she would not seek the death penalty for Markeith Loyd, who is accused of killing Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton and his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon.

Ayala said then that she would not pursue the death penalty for any accused criminal.

"By choosing to seek life sentences over death, we can assure that violent offenders will never be released. They will never continue to drain resources from this state with decades of appeals,” she said at the time.

Scott then took her off the Loyd case and assigned it to King.

Ayala appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court, saying the governor could not reassign the case because she is an elected official.  The court has yet to issue a ruling.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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