State Representative Bob Cortes has released a statement slamming Orange Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala for her decision not to seek the death penalty in the Markeith Loyd case in the death of OPD Lieutenant Debra Clayton and his former girlfriend Sade Dixon, who was pregnant at the time (story HERE).
“Heinous crimes like the ones committed by Mr. Loyd are the reason our law allows for the death penalty.” begins Cortes, citing recently passed legislation that requires a unanimous verdict for a death sentence to be carried out “It is why the decision whether a person should live or die should be the decision of twelve jurors, not the personal feeling of a State Attorney.”
Cortes adds that he will be looking into possible legislation to prevent similar cases from happening again and will explore possible violations by the Orange Osceola County State Attorney.
“The State Attorney owes the people an explanation for this appalling decision.” adds Cortes “But more importantly, she owes an explanation to the families of Lt. Clayton, Sade Dixon, her baby, and the men and women of law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect us and all the residents of the state of Florida.”
Cortes’ statement follows a call by Florida Governor Rick Scott to Ayala to recuse herself following the decision (story HERE). The ensuing manhunt also lead to the death of Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Norm Lewis.
Ayala has said here office will not seek the death penalty in any cases because of the state’s currently regulations regarding capital punishment. She also cities studies regarding the death penalty that illustrate that the punishment doesn’t keep doesn’t keep the public any safer.
It has been difficult to find any groups defending Ayala’s decision. Local law enforcement has slammed the move and Orlando Police Chief John Mina called the decision “extremely upsetting.
Local political on all levels have also been voicing their concerns. Attorney General Pam Bondi has called the news “Blantant neglect of duty and shameful failure.”
Attorney and Orange County Young Republicans President Nick Primrose added “Her decision to declare she will never seek the death penalty is an attack on the safety of our community.”