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Outgoing prosecutor: Ayala's personal views got in the way

Resignation letter outlines 'conflict' following death penalty policy

ORLANDO, Fla. – On March 16. veteran prosecutor Matthew Ryan Williams stood silently as State Attorney Aramis Ayala outlined her decision not to seek the death penalty in the Markeith Loyd murder cases or any case in her jurisdiction.

On Monday, nearly a month after that announcement Williams submitted his resignation to Ayala, arguing that in his view, the state attorney had let her own personal opinion impact the law.

“I understand your decision as a person,” he wrote. ”The truth, however, is that neither your opinion nor mine should play a role in the execution of this sacred duty we swore to fulfill.”  

Williams admitted that Ayala’s policy left him uncomfortable, writing: "My love for this office has found conflict with my oath as a prosecutor.”

Ayala’s policy prompted Gov. Rick Scott to remove Ayala from the Loyd case and an additional 21
first-degree murder cases and reassign them to Brad King, the state attorney for the 5th Judicial Circuit.

Ayala’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against Scott and King on Tuesday, arguing Scott overstepped his authority.

The  motion to stay argues, in part: “Not only do Governor Scott’s Acts violate Ayala’s federal constitutional rights, but they also violate Florida’s state Consitution.”

Ironically, Williams has been asked to join King.

In his resignation letter, Williams writes: "I find comfort in knowing my first assignment will be to continue the fight for justice that I and others began prior to your election and decision."

Williams will stay with Ayala’s office for a few more weeks. He starts his new job with King on May 12.


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