Kissimmee Cop-Killer Case Goes To Aramis Ayala Who Vows No Death Penalty – Then Gov Scott Says Hell No
Gov. Rick Scott Pulls Aramis Ayala From Everett Miller Case
Kissimmee, FL – In the interest of justice, Florida Governor Rick Scott has reassigned the case of Everett Miller from State Attorney Aramis Ayala to State Attorney Brad King.
The Governor’s decision was announced on Saturday evening, August 19, as he issued Executive 17-222, according to ClickOrlando.com. Miller has been charged in the murders of Kissimmee Police Officer Matthew Baxter and Kissimmee Police Sergeant Richard “Sam” Howard.
Officer Baxter stopped a group of suspicious persons on Friday night, August 18, and Sergeant Howard responded to assist. It isn’t clear exactly what happened next, but police believe some type of scuffle occurred. During that time, a fourth man walked out of the darkness in an ambush, and murdered both police officers. Neither officer was able to draw their weapon.
Miller was arrested a few hours later, after Osceola County deputies located him at a bar, took him to the ground, and arrested him. Two handguns were found in his possession, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
In March, State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced at a press conference that she would not seek the death penalty against Markeith Loyd, who murdered Orlando Police Lieutenant Lieutenant Clayton in January.
She said then that her decision not to seek the death penalty in his case was in “the best interests of the community” and “in the best interests of justice”, according to OrlandoWeekly.
The incident involving Markeith Loyd had started in December, 2016, when he murdered his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon, and became a fugitive. Orlando Police Lieutenant Clayton encountered Lloyd outside of Walmart in March, and she opened fire after being ordered to stop. Video shows Loyd standing over Lieutenant Clayton and executing her after he had shot her.
Orange County First Class Deputy Norman Lewis was also killed in a traffic collision while searching for Loyd.
In a press conference, Ayala also said that she would not seek the death penalty in any capital murder cases that were assigned to her. This was the first time that her voters had heard that statement, as she did not mention it during her campaign for State Attorney.
In response, Governor Scott reassigned 24 death penalty cases from Ayala to State Attorney Brad King. Florida state law empowers the governor to reassign cases between state attorneys for any “good and sufficient reason.”
Governor Scott’s office said that as governor, he has the “sole authority to reassign cases after a determination that the reassignment will serve in the interest of justice.
Ayala sued Governor Scott after he reassigned the 24 cases, and said that he didn’t have the authority to do that. Arguments have been presented to the Florida Supreme Court for both sides, and a ruling has not been issued yet.
When he announced his decision, Governor Scott said, “Last night’s violence against our law enforcement community is reprehensible and has no place in our state. In Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence and those who attack our law enforcement. Today, I am using my executive authority to reassign this case to State Attorney Brad King to ensure the victims of last night’s attack and their families receive the justice they deserve.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi agreed with his decision, and said “Two Florida police officers were brutally murdered and the victims’ families deserve a prosecutor who is willing to consider all sentences, including the death penalty — that is why the governor and I agree the investigation and prosecution of this case must be reassigned.”