State Attorney Aramis Ayala eliminates Deborah Barra’s position at office after she lost election to fill her seat

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Sources tell Channel 9 that 48 hours after Deborah Barra lost the election to fill State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s seat, Ayala eliminated Barra’s job as her chief deputy.

Barra earned only 20% of the vote in her bid for state attorney for the 9th Judicial Circuit. Monique Worrell won the primary with 43% of the vote.

Sources said the day Barra returned to the State Attorney’s Office for work following the election last week, she was told first that her position had been eliminated, and she was demoted.

READ: Worrell beats Perry in state attorney race for Orange, Osceola counties

“The success of any team depends on all team members being fully committed to a single vision and avoiding being a distraction to the work of the office,” Ayala said in a statement. “It was evident through statements made during the campaign that Ms. Barra and I have fundamental differences as it relates to how the office operates and our overall vision for the office.”

Channel 9 asked Barra for a statement, but she directed us to the office for comment instead.

In her career, Barra has prosecuted several high-profile cases including the convictions of Windermere rapist Daryl Patterson in 2018 and of Joel Pappas, a rapist targeting women around the University of Central Florida, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2012.

Ayala originally endorsed Barra in the election to fill her position, but then endorsed Worrell instead when she joined the race.

You can read Ayala’s full statement below:

“Following the primary, we made the decision to eliminate the position of Chief Assistant State Attorney and reassigned Deborah Barra to a different position within the office.

The success of any team depends on all team members being fully committed to a single vision and avoiding being a distraction to the work of the office. It was evident through statements made during the campaign that Ms. Barra and I have fundamental differences as it relates to how the office operates and our overall vision for the office.

During the remainder of my tenure, and as we prepare to transition to a new State Attorney for the 9th circuit, I am focused on accomplishing the goals and objectives laid out when I first took office and continuing our pursuit of justice”.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for updates.

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Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.