OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — An accused murderer could have been behind bars, but a decision by prosecutors allowed him to avoid going to jail.
On Wednesday, Osceola County deputies arrested Kaylan Vega in connection with the shooting death of a woman inside a Kissimmee hotel a week ago.
Detectives said that they knew Vega had a criminal history including an arrest for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
Under Florida law, that charge should have meant a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.
Detectives say instead of being in prison, Vega was at the Red Carpet Inn in Kissimmee the night of the shooting.
In Florida, mandatory minimums are set by the legislature, but it’s at the prosecutor’s discretion whether or not to follow those recommendations.
In Vega’s case, he was allowed to take a plea and ultimately was placed on probation.
Osceola County deputies say when they got to the Red Carpet Inn on July 1, they were met by a man who was screaming that someone had hurt his wife.
When deputies entered Room 212, they found a woman dead of a gunshot wound.
Through witnesses, interviews and surveillance video detectives were able to arrest Vega for murder, and his brother Kysean Francis as an accessory after the fact.
In the arrest report, investigators wrote that Vega had an “extensive criminal record” and that he “has the propensity for violence and carrying weapons”.
A look at Vega’s past charges shows he was arrested last year at another hotel in Orange County for not having a concealed weapons permit, after deputies found him holding a weapon when they responded to a shots fired call in February of 2020.
At the time, the state attorney’s office officially charged him with having a firearm as a convicted felon, which carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three years.
In April of 2021, court documents show the state waived the mandatory minimum, and Vega was allowed to enter a plea deal to five years probation.
“It’s disappointing that he could have been in prison instead of on the streets. My heart goes out to the victim’s family and friends,” Sheriff Marcos Lopez said in a statement.
Detectives have not released the victim’s name, but do say the shooting was not a random act.
Vega was booked into the Osceola County Jail, where he is being held without bond.
The state attorney’s office released the following statement regarding the arrest: