ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A newly elected Central Florida prosecutor left many stunned on Thursday by announcing she will not pursue death sentences for any capital cases during her time in office.
The decision by Aramis Ayala, the state attorney in Orange and Osceola counties, sparked an official rebuke from Florida Governor Rick Scott, who quickly appointed an outspoken supporter of the death penalty as special prosecutor in a high-profile case involving accused cop-killer Markeith Loyd.
Scott appointed Brad King, state attorney for the 5th Judicial Circuit, to handle the case of Loyd after Ayala refused to recuse herself.
King said he received the call from the Governor's Office late Thursday afternoon, asking him if he would accept the case. He said yes.
"I'm prepared for just about anything," King said.
Asked about his thoughts on being assigned the Loyd case, he said, "I've been called upon by the Governor to do a job," and added, "My job as far as the Governor's appointment is to prosecute the case. That is what I intend to do."
King, who has taken other first-degree murder cases before, said it was "just another case" in his mind.
He said just a couple weeks ago, he took on a case from when Ayala was a defense attorney. When asked about his thoughts on Ayala's decision not to seek the death penalty, he said he had "no thoughts on that."
We asked King about his thoughts on the death penalty, in general.
"I evaluate the facts of a case as they pertain to aggregating circumstances. If there are aggravating circumstances in the case that warrant the death penalty, I'll seek it," he said. "I've sought and had imposed the death penalty in over a dozen cases. This one is no different."
King stopped short of saying if the death penalty is an option in the Loyd case. He admitted that he doesn't know the full facts of the case and has some homework to do, but he said that the bottom line is, he's ready for the case.
His next steps are to meet with all of the victims, as well as case agents and lead detectives. He will also receive the case file 9th District State Attorney's Office.
He plans on starting the process on Friday, and he expects to be in Orlando sometime next week.