ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala could be called to testify on accused killer Markeith Loyd's behalf if he's convicted on one or both of the first-degree murder charges he's facing, according to court documents.
Loyd's attorney, Terry Lenamon, filed a motion Thursday notifying the court that he intends to call Ayala as a witness if Loyd's trial enters the penalty phase, which would be when the jury would decide if Loyd would be sentenced to death or life in prison.
Loyd is accused of fatally shooting his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December 2016 then gunning down Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton as she tried to apprehend him outside a Walmart on John Young Parkway.
Ayala's office was originally slated to prosecute Loyd's case, but Gov. Rick Scott issued a series of executive orders stripping that case and other first-degree murder cases from her after she announced in March 2017 that her office would not seek the death penalty against Loyd or any other defendant.
"Ayala’s testimony is significant in that as the sitting and elected State Attorney, she
determined that despite the interpretation that these crimes were 'brutal,' the brutality was
nevertheless outweighed by mitigating factors that guided her to a decision not to seek
death," Lenamon wrote in the motion.
Ayala issued a statement Friday saying she would not comment on the matter.
“Under the circumstances, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this pending litigation. My 15+ years of criminal trial experience in the state of Florida has taught me that public officials must be mindful of how their comments can impede the integrity of the judicial process, violate victims’ rights, and threaten due process and equal protection,” Ayala said.
In a separate motion also filed Thursday, Lenamon asked that the death penalty not be considered at all in Loyd's case because it is disproportionately applied to black defendants.
Lenamon has also asked that separate juries be seated for the guilt phase and penalty phase of Loyd's trial and that those jurors assigned to be seated during the guilt phase of the trial not be questioned about their beliefs on the death penalty during voir dire.
Loyd's next court date is scheduled for Tuesday.
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