• Anti-death penalty prosecutor's office to seek death penalty, but case not known

    By: Mike Manzoni , Samantha Manning


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The death penalty panel at the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office said it has unanimously decided to seek the death penalty in a recent homicide case.


    The governor took 29 murder cases away from Aramis Ayala's office earlier this year after she announced she would not seek the death penalty.


    Since then, her office created a death penalty panel to decide future cases.


    The case, which has not been announced, is now in a prosecutor's hands.





    The prosecutor handling the case will file the paperwork at the courthouse any day.


    The state attorney's office won't say which case, but Ayala has said she has no plans to overrule the panel's recommendations.


    Fact check: State Attorney Aramis Ayala's reasons for not pursuing the death penalty


    Ayala created the panel last month after she lost a Florida Supreme Court battle to get back death penalty cases.


    Read: Florida Supreme Court rules against Ayala on Scott's reassigning of death penalty cases


    Gov. Rick Scott reassigned 29 cases to another state attorney after Ayala announced she would not seek the death penalty in any case.


    WFTV legal analyst Belvin Perry said the panel’s decision makes a stronger case for Ayala to keep first-degree murder cases in her jurisdiction.


    “Now you have the evidence that she’s considering it on a case-by-case basis,” Perry said. “It’s going to be very difficult if not impossible for the governor to remove other cases.”


    There are at least two first-degree murder cases that Scott has not taken from Ayala.


    One of them involved Robert Overcash.


    Osceola County deputies said he buried his roommate Shawn McKee in their St. Cloud backyard in May.


    The other case involves Clay Curtsinger, who Orange County deputies said shot and killed Jack Radke in July.


    Overcash’s attorney said he hasn't heard anything from prosecutors.


    He said he'd be shocked if the panel wanted to pursue the death penalty in his client's case.


    The Associated Press contributed to this report

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