Judge rules against State Attorney Aramis Ayala in Markeith Loyd case

Loyd accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Orlando officer

ORLANDO, Fla. – A judge ruled Tuesday that Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brad King will try the murder cases of Markeith Loyd, who is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer.

Orange County Circuit Chief Judge Fredrick J. Lauten denied a motion filed by Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who was removed from the case by Gov. Rick Scott after she said she would not seek the death penalty against Loyd -- or in any case.

Loyd, 41, faces murder and other charges in the shooting deaths of Sade Dixon and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton. Lauten's ruling applies to both murder cases, which will be heard separately.

Ayala filed a motion to stay the proceedings until it could be determined whether Scott's decision to remove her was constitutional.

“The governor’s order is unlawful,” Ayala argued. “There's no lawful reason to remove me from the case."

King said the only fact in the matter is Scott's executive order removing Ayala from the case.

"All these things Miss Ayala speaks of are not facts," King said.

Lauten ruled that the governor has broad authority to install a new state attorney, determining that King will be in charge of the case.

Loyd interjected that Scott only made the decision to remove Ayala because he's vindictive.

“(King) comes to seek the death penalty,” Loyd said, adding that the governor and Orlando police Chief John Mina have publicly made that declaration. “Scott seeks revenge, not justice."

King told Lauten that he will decide this week whether the state is seeking the death penalty against Loyd.

Despite the judge's decision, Ayala said that her office will continue to "move forward to expose the governor's actions as unlawful and unconstitutional in a way that does not compromise the successful prosecution of Markeith Loyd."

"By inserting his personal politics into this case, Governor Scott’s unprecedented action is dangerous and could compromise the prosecution of Markeith Loyd and threatens the integrity of Florida’s judicial system," Ayala said.

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Loyd, wearing a blue jumpsuit, handcuffs and a patch over his left eye, objected to several of Lauten's rulings, including a competency hearing to determine whether he's fit to stand trial and represent himself. Lauten has ruled to this point that Loyd can represent himself, but he has appointed standby counsel to assist Loyd with legal matters, if Loyd chooses. 

Loyd has previously claimed that he lost his eye while being arrested after a massive nine-day manhunt following the shooting death of Clayton.

“I object to being appointed counsel and (having my) competency (evaluated),” Loyd said. “I’m not going to talk to anybody." 

Lauten told Loyd that a doctor will still attempt to examine him.

"I’m in fear that I can’t get a fair trial in this courtroom," Loyd said.

The next hearing in the case will be held Monday.

Loyd has a trial date of May 1 in the Dixon case and June 19 in the Clayton case.