OPD officers' emails to State Attorney Ayala go unanswered, records show

Emails criticize anti-death penalty decision

By Mike DeForest - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Hours after Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced she would not be seeking the death penalty for Markeith Loyd, who is accused of killing Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton, several Orlando police officers sent emails to the prosecutor criticizing her decision and asking her to reconsider.

"I, along with many others, spent nine straight days and nights hunting down Markeith Loyd after he brutally executed and murdered (Orlando police lieutenant) Debra Clayton in cold blood," wrote a member of the Orlando Police Department's Fugitive Investigative Unit. "This decision has, in one fell swoop, destroyed the community's and law enforcement's confidence in you as the state attorney to represent its victims."

The officer argued that a court of law should be allowed to decide whether Loyd should be executed for allegedly murdering Clayton, his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon, and Dixon's unborn child.

Ayala never responded to the Orlando police officers' emails, News 6 has learned.

"From every angle your decision appears selfish and self-serving," the officer added.  "Next time you run for office please consider the office of Public Defender so your current position can be filled by someone who will uphold that office's oath."

Another Orlando police officer's email encouraged Ayala to watch surveillance video from the Walmart store, where Clayton was killed on Jan. 9, that reportedly shows Loyd fatally shooting Clayton.

[PICTURES: Officers email Aramis Ayala]

"Do you not think that the horrific video of her death is deeply troubling?" the officer asked.  "In my over 20 years of service to this country, in both the military and law enforcement, I have never felt less supported and less appreciated."

Four of the five officers who sent emails to Ayala work in an undercover capacity, according to a Police Department spokeswoman. News 6 has agreed not to identify any of them by name. Ayala, however, is aware of their identities.

The state attorney has exchanged emails with death penalty opponents, records previously obtained by News 6 revealed.

"It would have been less than professional for State Attorney Ayala to have any conversation with anyone within theOrlando Police Department other than Chief Mina regarding the death penalty issue," a state attorney spokeswoman told News 6.  "State Attorney Ayala had previously spoken to Chief Mina about this announcement."

Mina told News 6 he was extremely upset by Ayala's decision.

"I understand you have a difficult task in deciding if the death penalty applies. Although it may weigh heavy on your heart, it is your duty as the elected State Attorney to do what the citizens and constituents require," another Orlando police officer wrote in an email to Ayala.  "If you wish to not apply the death penalty, let the citizens of the state of Florida decide that when election time comes around and help change the law."

[Timeline: How the manhunt and capture of Markeith Loyd unfolded]

A fourth officer offered a more blunt assessment.

"I fear you did not consult the families before making your decision," the 24-year Police Department veteran wrote. "Follow the law, listen to the people!!"

Another member of the department's fugitive investigative unit told Ayala he worked with Clayton for 18 years and described her as a co-worker and friend.

"Mr. Loyd does not have the right to see the light ever again or breathe the same air," he wrote.

The officer's email concludes with, "Have a blessed day Ma'am."

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