A Florida prosecutor elected with $1 million from liberal billionaire George Soros has been removed from all first-degree murder cases after refusing to seek the death penalty for any suspect, including an accused cop killer.
State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who won an upset victory in November after receiving $1.38 million from the Soros-backed Florida Safety & Justice PAC, had 21 first-degree murder cases in Orange and Osceola counties reassigned Monday to other prosecutors by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican.
His executive order came after she announced she would not seek the death penalty against Markeith Loyd, who has been charged in the murders of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton in January, or any other defendants.
Another officer, Orange County sheriff’s Deputy Norman Lewis, died in a Jan. 9 car crash during the hunt for the 41-year-old Loyd.
“While I currently do have discretion to pursue death sentences, I have determined that doing so is not in the best interest of this community or in the best interests of justice,” said Ms. Ayala, a Democrat, at her March 16 press conference.
Mr. Scott responded by reassigning the Loyd case to a prosecutor in another circuit. He said his decision this week to follow up by removing the 21 cases was made “in the interest of justice.”