Jeff Ashton: Aramis Ayala should not be a state attorney

Former state attorney says death penalty policy does not uphold the law

ORLANDO, Fla. –  Former State Attorney Jeff Ashton made it clear he doesn’t want the job again but in his view, Aramis Ayala has crossed the line with her mandate against the death penalty and should be fired.

“I am not vying for the job... I am not going to ask the governor to remove her and appoint me, I don’t want to be in politics anymore but she does need to be removed,” he told WKMG-TV.

In an exclusive interview Friday, Ashton said there is protocol in place to have Ayala removed from office and that he wouldn’t be surprised if the governor is considering that option.

“She does need to be removed because if she will not execute the laws as written she should not be a state attorney,” he said.

Ashton posted a Facebook message last week supporting a petition on Change.orgthat calls for Ayala's removal from office.

The petition was posted by Steve Zellers a former Ashton staffer whose sister was abducted and murdered while she was leaving her job at Disney World on Dec. 30, 1978.

“It’s not right what she’s doing,” Zellers told WKMG-TV. "I want her out.”

In his Facebook post,  Ashton asked his supporters and friends to sign Zeller’s petition writing in part:

“We all need to put our support behind the ouster of Aramis Ayala. She has politicized the office disgracefully and has to go.”

On Tuesday Chief Judge Fredrick Lauten will review Gov. Rick Scott’s order removing Ayala from the Markeith Loyd murder case.That hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The judge has allowed two hours for the hearing.

State Attorney Brad King has been designated as the assigned state attorney for the case.

There has been speculation that someone with past experience in the state attorney’s office could be
appointed as state attorney if Ayala is suspended by Scott.

The Florida NAACP is preparing a rally for this Thursday in Tallahassee in support of Ayala’s death penalty position. In a statement, Saturday a spokesperson announced: “We should not allow the governor
to get away with what he did.”

News 6 has learned a new movement, Justice for Ayala victims, is recruiting, attorneys willing to work pro-bono to assist families of murder victims “to fight this issue.”

Families and attorneys are asked to

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.