Murder suspect's family says death penalty should not be an option

Emerita Mapp accused of killing man in Osceola motel room

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Emerita Mapp is accused of stabbing one man to death and trying to kill another man in an Osceola County motel room, but her family says she should not die for her accused crimes.

Mapp's sister said the recent death penalty drama at Orange Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala's office has been emotional.

Ayala's office missed a 45-day deadline to file for the death penalty in Mapp's case.

"It's an emotional roller coaster," April Bridges said.  "One minute we're being told the case is going before the death penalty and the next minute we hear they missed the deadline."

Mapp, 33, is accused of stabbing 20-year-old Zachery Ganoe to death in a Days Inn motel room in April. Deputies said she also cut Andrew Bickford's throat, but he survived.

Ayala's office filed a motion seeking the death penalty in the case.

Mapp's attorney filed a motion to take death off the table after the state missed the deadline to properly file.

"I think the death penalty should be pulled off," Bridges said.  "Timeliness is important and because you had your chance and you missed it, this should just be completely wiped away."

Ayala pointed the finger at Gov. Rick Scott for not identifying Mapp's case when he reassigned dozens of murder cases from Ayala's office.

Ayala said she plans to litigate to keep death an option

the governor fired back Tuesday.  

"How do you miss a deadline?" he said.

Bridges said the back and forth is draining her family, creating unnecessary stress even before the trial.

"It's hard enough that we're not going to see my sister for Thanksgiving, but then to take my family through this, It's not fair," she said.

A status hearing is scheduled in Mapp's case on Dec. 11.

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