Suspects in Orlando Amazon armed robbery suffer from mental illness: State Attorney

Days after two suspects with long criminal histories were arrested for robbing an Amazon delivery driver, both the State Attorney and a state lawmaker reacted to the case. They talked about what needs to be done to improve public safety.

"It’s frightening. Almost hoping I don’t die." That’s how Amazon driver Louis Rodriguez says he felt, as a gun was pointed at him during a robbery. Orange County deputies arrested 23-year-old Arkimase Divinard and 24-year-old Joel Aime.

The Orange County Sheriff tweeted that both suspects had 85 felony charges and 11 convictions between them. Even the Osceola County Sheriff reacted after one suspect allegedly burglarized a business in Kissimmee two days after the robbery.

Sheriff Marcos Lopez said, "Do we wait till it gets to 100, and then we start finding something more suitable to prosecute?"

State Attorney Monique Worrell says, "You say 87 arrests and only 11 convictions. But that doesn't account for the fact that we don’t convict children."

As State Attorney Monique Worrell talks about the suspects, state Representative Rachel Plakon is also concerned. "We’ve got a great justice system, but at the same time, once in a while you find a loophole, and I’m going to Tallahassee next week. I’m on the criminal justice committee, and I’m gonna find out what went wrong in this case."  

Worrell says, "Is there a loophole? I would call it a crack and a crack these individuals are falling through to the detriment of our community."

Worrell says, both suspects are mentally ill and have a long criminal history since childhood. "These were individuals who from a very young age suffered from mental illness and weren’t appropriately addressed." Divinard even spent 6 years in adult prison as a juvenile. "At a very young age, he went to adult prison, and then he came out and committed another offense and went back to adult prison." She’d like to see a change in how juveniles are sentenced.

"The maximum amount of time a child will be kept in custody is 18-36 months. As we see increasing violent crimes being committed by our children, that’s not sufficient for rehabilitation purposes," she said.  

She’d also like to see mental health issues addressed, while also keeping the public safe. "We give them the resources they need, so they do not re-offend, so the community is not in danger from their actions anymore, and that we can promote public safety." Valerie asks: "And does that mean a secure facility?" Worrell replied, "It could mean that."

Meanwhile, Plakon plans to take action as well, so residents like Amazon Driver Louis Rodriguez feel safe again. "Even when you have good prosecutors, even when you have good judges, you’ve gotta make sure they have the tools they need, the laws they need, that they can enforce those."

Plakon is on the Criminal Justice Committee and plans to take her concerns to Tallahassee next week.