The Latest: Governor says he has power to remove prosecutor


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the decision by a top prosecutor in Florida to no longer seek the death penalty (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Florida’s governor says he had the authority to remove a top prosecutor in Orlando from the case of a slain police officer after she said her office would no longer seek the death penalty in any cases.

Scott said Monday in the capital of Tallahassee that he is comfortable with his decision last week to remove the Markeith Loyd case from State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s office and transfer it to a State Attorney’s Office in a neighboring district.

Ayala asserted in a legal motion Monday that Scott overstepped his authority. She says allowing the governor to interfere could undermine Florida’s judicial system.

If Ayala declines to seek the death penalty in other cases, Scott says he will “deal with it at the time.”

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1 p.m.

A state attorney says Florida’s governor overstepped his authority when he pulled her off a case after she said she would not pursue the death penalty in any cases.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala made the assertion Monday in a legal motion that asks a judge to allow her to present that argument in court. The motion claims that allowing the governor to interfere could undermine Florida’s judicial system.

Markeith Loyd is charged with first-degree murder in the killings of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton and his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.

Gov. Rick Scott removed Ayala from Loyd’s case and reassigned it to another state attorney after Ayala made her announcement against the death penalty Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the governor didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday.