The case of a 3-year-old Orlando boy who was beaten to death last week because he drank from a milk jug has been reassigned to another state attorney because of the Orange County prosecutor’s views on the death penalty.
Two women have been charged with the boy’s murder.
Monday afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott issued two executive orders reassigning their cases to Marion County State Attorney Brad King.
Three-year-old Xavier Mokarzel-Satchel died after police say he was beaten with a plastic rod and thrown across the room by his mother’s girlfriend and the girlfriend’s mother after he drank from a milk jug and eating yogurt.
Authorities arrested the girlfriend, 28-year-old Lakesha Lewis, and her mother, 58-year-old Callene Barton. Both women have been charged with aggravated child abuse and first-degree murder.
Scott has been reassigning murder cases from the state attorney’s office in Orange and Osceola County since prosecutor Aramis Ayala said earlier this year that she would not seek the death penalty in capital cases.
Last month, Ayala filed a lawsuit challenging Scott’s authority to transfer two dozen cases from her jurisdiction. The Florida Supreme Court has yet to hand down a decision in Ayala’s challenge.
In his orders regarding this most recent case, Scott said Ayala’s comments regarding the death penalty “raise grave concerns about her willingness to abide by and uphold the uniform application of the laws of the State of Florida, and the ends of justice will be best served by the assignment of another state attorney to discharge the duties of State Attorney Aramis Ayala.”