On Thursday morning, Orange Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced she would not be seeking the death penalty in the Markeith Loyd case or any other case with the state’s current capital punishment standards. Loyd is accused of killing OPD Lieutenant Debra Clayton as well his former girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child. The manhunt for Loyd also resulted in the death of Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Norm Lewis.
“Doing so is not in the best interest of this community or the best interest of justice.” began Ayala.
Ayala listed talking points during her remarks which included studies that the death penalty has no public safety benefit, nor does it increase law enforcement officer safety or serve as a deterrent to criminals. She added that the cost of the execution would cost the public far more than an execution.
“I had to answer difficult questions as I arrived at this decision.” said Ayala “Is it practical? Does it make sense? And most importantly, is it evidence based?”
The State Attorney denied that campaign donations made by Billionaire anti-death penalty advocate George Soros had any effect on her decision and dismissed death penalty analysis from other legal experts on the matter as their own interpretation of the case.
The State Attorney’s decision to not seek the death penalty in the Loyd case has been received poorly by the law enforcement community including the Fraternal Order of Police and Orlando Police Chief John Mina who said he was “extremely upset” with the decision and added “The heinous crimes that he committed in our community are the very reason we have the death penalty as an option under the law.”
Ayala was appreciative of the work done by law enforcement in the community and pledged to speak with Mina when he returned from a trip overseas saying “Their job is not a safe one which is why I’m certain that the sentences we’re seeking are actually not because we’re emotional but because they are actually evidence based and supporting the safety of our law enforcement officers.”