ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orange County man convicted of murder was resentenced to life in prison, years after a change to state law impacted many death penalty cases.
David Frances was initially sentenced to death for the murders of a teen and her aunt in 2000.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Jo Anna Charles and Helena Mills, the girl’s aunt, were strangled with an electrical cord in their condo by Frances and his younger brother, Elvis Frances.
David Frances’ sentence was vacated in 2017 because the jury’s decision to recommend the death penalty was not unanimous. Florida passed a law in 2017 requiring a unanimous verdict for death penalty recommendations, with a life sentence as the alternative.
The case was one of dozens taken away from former State Attorney Aramis Ayala by then Gov. Rick Scott after she announced she would not seek the death penalty in any case. Scott said Ayala’s refusal to seek capital punishment “sends an unacceptable message that she is not interested in considering every available option in the fight for justice.”