ORLANDO, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott has removed State Attorney Aramis Ayala from prosecuting two Orlando women who are accused of beating a 3-year-old boy to death because he drank milk from the jug.
Scott issued two executive orders Monday to strip the two cases from Ayala and reassign them to neighboring State Attorney Brad King.
Callene Marcia Barton and Lakesha Chantell Lewis were arrested July 7 at Eagle Landing on Silver Star Road in Orlando after authorities arrived to the apartment complex to find 3-year-old Xavier Mokarzel-Satchel unconscious and struggling to breathe, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies said the boy's mother, Brandi Mokarzel, woke up the morning of July 7 to the sound of Barton yelling at Xavier for drinking from a milk jug and eating yogurt. Lewis then repeatedly hit the boy with a plastic rod used to turn window blinds, according to the arrest report.
Mokarzel tried to intervene by taking her son to the bedroom, but Barton then grabbed the boy by his arm and leg and threw him down a hallway, causing his neck to turn, the document said. Xavier then began shaking like he was having a seizure, the report said.
Xavier died at an area hospital, according to deputies. His cause of death was blunt force trauma.
Lewis and Barton were charged with aggravated child abuse and first-degree murder. The boy's mother, Brandi Mokarzel, was charged with child neglect. Mokarzel is in a romantic relationship with Lewis and Barton is Lewis' mother.
The capital cases for Lewis and Barton are the latest to be taken away from Ayala since she announced that her office would no longer seek the death penalty. Monday's executive orders mark the 25th and 26th cases Scott has taken away from Ayala since March.
Both politicians are currently embroiled in a legal battle concerning whether or not Scott had the authority to remove Ayala from the death penalty cases against her will.
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