OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — In a final act, outgoing state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties Aramis Ayala issued waivers for death penalty cases in Osceola County on Monday.
The waivers she filed mean some high-profile cases in Osceola County cannot be tried as death penalty cases.
Early on in her term, Ayala sparked a nationwide debate after she announced she would not seek the death penalty in any case.
She eventually reversed her policy on capital punishment, and appointed a panel of assistant state attorney to decide which cases warranted the death penalty.
Now, she has filed notices of intent to not seek the death penalty in at least two Osceola County murder cases.
“There’s been litigation going on, and then at the ninth hour for whatever reason, hopefully it was a good reason, the death penalty is not being sought,” said former Chief Judge Belvin Perry, who presided over the ninth circuit for years.
He explained that, when arrests were made in these cases, prosecutors filed notices to seek the death penalty. Now that’s been reversed.
Two of the notices not to seek the death penalty were filed in a twisted love triangle. It involves a murder-for-hire plot case from back in 2018.
According to investigators, Ishnar Lopez-Ramos hired Glorianmarie Quinones-Montes and Alexis Ramos-Rivera to kill a woman in a relationship with a man Lopez-Ramos loved.
Documents showed the duo kidnapped the wrong person and, even after realizing that, they bound her and suffocated her. Ayala’s office will no longer be seeking the death penalty for Lopez-Ramos or Ramos Rivera.
The third notice was filed in the case against Anthony Todt, who is accused of murdering his wife, three children and family dog in their Celebration home back in January 2020.
Channel 9 reached out to Ayala’s office. The state attorney’s office released the following statement:
“Making the decision on how to charge cases involves a variety of factors and numerous other considerations -- particularly -- as it relates to cases where the death penalty is being contemplated. I have personally reviewed each of the three cases and provided a specific rationale for my decision. As is our protocol, we notified the families of the victims in advance of each filing. The pursuit of real justice has always been a priority for me, right up until my last day in office. Difficult decisions like these are made with the utmost concern for all involved.”
A spokesperson for the state attorney’s office said they “did not coordinate with the outgoing State Attorney on this decision.” They said the office establishes its own review panel “to examine the individual circumstances of every capital eligible case before rendering any final determinations on the mater.”
“The most important thing we want to communicate is that our focus will always be on the safety of our community and the citizens of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Orange and Osceola Counties.” the office said in a release.
Worrell is set to be sworn in next week. She told Channel 9′s Daralene Jones that “the outgoing state attorney made the decision she felt was best based on her review and analysis of those individual cases.”
“That was her decision to make,” Worrell said. “Going forward, I will ensure there is a policy in place and a panel is in place to review those decisions.” Worrell said.
Cox Media Group