Gov. Scott wants Ayala to prosecute murder-for-hire suspects to the fullest

'My job is to do everything I can to make sure she does her job,' Scott says

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott said the three people accused in a botched murder-for-hire plot should be prosecuted to the fullest and he wants to make sure Orange Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala's office is prepared to do it.

"I'm always going to stand with victims," Scott said. "My heart is always going to go out to these individuals that these things happen to."

Detectives in Osceola County said three people hatched a murder-for-hire plan, but when they realized Janice Zangotita-Torres was not the intended target, they killed her anyway.

"You can't imagine why anybody would do something like that to another human being. I mean, it’s just disgusting," Scott said.

This week the governor's legal counsel wrote a letter to Ayala to confirm that her office will "seek appropriate penalties and sentences" for the trio.

Last year, Ayala announced she would not seek the death penalty in any case, but changed course when she lost a court battle with the governor.

After Florida's Supreme Court ruled Ayala's office had to consider the death penalty in appropriate cases, prosecutors in the office have filed death notices in three cases.

"My job is to do everything I can to make sure she does her job," Scott said when asked if he has confidence that Ayala will continue to follow through.

Ayala's office said yesterday it will be seeking second-degree murder charges against the trio accused in the Zangotita-Torres case. A grand jury must indict the suspects on first-degree murder charges.

The governor said he will continue to follow the case.

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