ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Orange County’s top law enforcement officers expressed their frustration over State Attorney Aramis Ayala announcement on Thursday to no longer pursue the death penalty in capital murder cases. They also expressed relief over a decision by Florida Gov.Rick Scott to reassign the high-profile case of Markieth Loyd to another state prosecutor, Brad King.
Loyd is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixo,n and her unborn child in December of last year. After a weeks-long manhunt, authorities said Loyd gunned down Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton outside an Orlando Walmart.
"We support the actions of Gov. Rick Scott to appoint Brad King to decide this case," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. "To put it bluntly, law enforcement officers throughout Florida are outraged over the decision that was made in this case."
OPD's Deputy Chief Robert Anzueto agreed, "This decision by the State Attorney has law enforcement nationwide questioning her actions. The members of the Orlando Police Department are in total disagreement in her decision."
Anzueto argued that the death penalty helps prevent crime, adding, "It can be a deterrent to crime that never happened. It would be difficult to tally up those kinds of preventable stats".
Family members of the victims in the Markeith Loyd case were outraged over Ayala’s decision.
As far as closure, the husband of fallen officer Debra Clayton, Seth Clayton, said, "To me, my closure will be when Markeith Loyd is six feet under."
Clayton thanked the governor for taking Ayala off the case.
"The decision whether some should live or die in a case like this should be in the hands of a jury, not one person to decide."