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Ayala Claims “Inaccuracies,” As DeSantis Order Removes Her From Homicide Case

State Attorney Aramis Ayala. Photo: Renata Sago WMFE.

Orange and Osceola County state attorney Aramis Ayala says an executive order removing her from an Osceola County homicide case is “riddled with inaccuracies.”

But Ayala says she will comply with the order.

Ayala gave a news conference on Friday, hours after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he is re-assigning the case.

Christopher Otero Rivera and Angel Rivera were arrested in the death of Otero Rivera’s estranged wife, Nicole Montalvo, but they have not been formally charged with murder.

DeSantis has re-assigned the case to the state attorney for the 5th Judicial Circuit, Brad King.

His executive order refers to Attorney General Ashley Moody, who says there is enough evidence for murder charges. The order also refers to Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson, who says Ayala is actively hindering the collection of evidence.

“This could not be further from the truth. We have encouraged and requested the sheriff’s office to do additional investigation in this case nearly every single week.”

Ayala said it is her hope that once the investigation is completed, murder charges will be filed. She says that her office is not satisfied it has what it needs to move forward, and she stands by prosecutors in her office who requested there not be an arrest.

In 2017, Governor Rick Scott removed Ayala from more than 20 murder cases after she announced she would not seek the death penalty in murder cases. She later appointed a panel to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

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Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »