ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - In a case of horrible timing, Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala was to be honored Thursday morning at an event that was also supposed to recognize the family of Orlando Police Department Lieutenant Debra Clayton.
Clayton was allegedly killed by Markeith Lloyd in January. Lloyd’s is currently the most-high profile murder case in Orange County.
Hours before Onyx Magazine’s Women on the Move Awards Banquet, Ayala announced that she would not prosecute any death penalty cases during her term as state attorney, including the Lloyd case.
Ayala didn’t show up to collect her award and Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill accepted Clayton’s recognition on the family’s behalf, who did not attend as expected. Hill told FOX 35 she would not comment on Ayala’s decision, out of respect for Clayton’s family, who are “still grieving.”
“The judicial system will take care of itself. I have no comment or thoughts on that,” Hill said.
The banquet honored African-American “women on the move.” As the first black state attorney in Florida, Ayala earned her place. The controversial decision regarding the death penalty shined the spotlight even brighter.
Orlando Commissioner Samuel Ings said the timing of the honors for Clayton and Ayala was “ironic but at the same time Aramis is due what she’s due, too, as far as her recognition.”
Some spoke up on behalf of the state attorney.
“I believe [the death penalty is]used more often against African Americans and until there’s a moratorium on how we prosecute death penalty cases and make it equal across the races, I see no issues with it,” said law professor Phyllis Taite.
“There’s no win-win situation but at some point you have to stand for what you believe. That’s what courage is,” said law professor Patricia Broussard.