Woman accused in fatal stabbing to be Ayala's first death-penalty case

Emerita Mapp arrested on murder charge in death of Zackery Ganoe

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter, Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager
Osceola County Jail

Emerita Eileen Mapp is charged with first-degree murder.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala will seek the death penalty in the case against a woman accused of fatally stabbing a man at a Kissimmee hotel earlier this year.

Ayala filed a death notice Tuesday in the case against Emerita Mapp, who is accused of killing Zackery Ganoe, 20, in April.

Mapp was arrested on first-degree murder charges in the death of Ganoe, who was found stabbed April 11 at the Days Inn in Kissimmee. 

Mapp also faces attempted murder charges after another man was found with stab wounds at the scene.

"This was a violent and horrific crime," Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said. "Two young men were attacked viciously, one losing his life."

A motive for the killing is unknown.

Earlier this year, Ayala announced that she would not seek the death penalty in any case, but she changed course months later after losing a court battle against Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who stripped several cases from her.

Ayala assembled a death penalty review panel, which recently decided that Mapp should face the death penalty.

The case against Mapp will go to trial in February 2018.

Women executed in Florida uncommon

A female execution in Florida is rare; only two women have been executed in the state’s history.

Three women currently sit on Florida’s death row. Eleven women were sentenced to death, but later received re-sentencing to life, were released or died while in prison, according to Department of Corrections records.

Both women executed in Florida were sentenced in Central Florida.

Aileen C. Wuornos was implicated in the deaths of several men along I-4, but convicted and sentenced to death in Volusia County for the murder of a businessman. Her story was later made into a movie called “Monster,” in which Wuornos was played by Charlize Theron. 

Wuornos was executed by lethal injection in 2002.

Judias Goodyear Buenoano, nicknamed the “Black Widow” was sentenced to death in 1985 for poisoning her husband with arsenic. She was also sentenced to life in 1980 for the drowning murder of her paralyzed son.

Buenoano was the first woman to die in the electric chair in Florida, according to Department of Corrections records. She was executed in 1998.

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