A week after a Florida prosecutor announced her refusal to pursue the death penalty in first-degree murder cases, a court employee in that state resigned over an apparent Facebook comment suggesting that she “hang from a tree.”
Stan McCullars, the assistant finance director at the Seminole County Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office had been put on administrative leave after allegedly commenting under an Orlando Sentinel story about Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s decision. “Maybe SHE should get the death penalty,” said the comment next to McCullars’ name, followed by “she should be tarred and feathered if not hung from a tree.”
Grant Maloy, the Seminole County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller said that he requested McCullars’ resignation after an investigation and he agreed to leave his position, the Sentinel reported. “These comments neither reflect my beliefs or those of the Clerk of the Court and Comptroller’s Office, nor were made on behalf of or by our organization,” Maloy said in a statement. McCullars could not be reached for comment, the Sentinel said.
Ayala announced last week that she would not pursue capital punishment during her tenure with Orange-Osceola county. “While I currently do have discretion to pursue death sentences,” Ayala said. “I have determined that doing so is not in the best interest of this community or the best interest of justice.”
But she was met with heavy criticism from Florida politicians and law enforcement. They were particularly upset that she would not be pursuing the death penalty against Markeith Loyd, who is charged in the January shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton and his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon.
“She has made it abundantly clear that she will not fight for justice for Lt. Debra Clayton and our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who subsequently removed her from prosecuting the Loyd case. Ayala said to a circuit judge in Florida that Scott “overstepped his bounds” by removing her and has asked the judge to temporarily halt the governor’s order while she contemplates her next move, the Sentinel said.