Prosecutors will NOT seek death penalty against man 'who killed his family

Prosecutors will NOT seek death penalty against man 'who killed his family

Outgoing State Attorney for Orange and Osceola counties Aramis Ayala will not seek the death penalty against a man accused of murdering his wife, their three children and the family dog inside their Disney townhome last year.

On Monday, Ayala, a Democrat who was elected to office in 2016 but did no seek re-election last year, filed a notice of intent to not pursue the death penalty in three high-profile criminal cases, including that of 45-year-old Antony Todt.

Outgoing Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala,

Anthony Todt.

Ayala, Florida’s first African American state attorney, has repeatedly clashed with local law enforcement and the state's current and former governors over her staunch opposition to the death penalty.

Todt, a physical therapist who shared his time between Connecticut and Florida, was arrested in January 2020 for allegedly drugging, suffocating and stabbing to death his wife Megan, 42; their children, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4; and the dog, Breezy.

The decomposing bodies of the victims were discovered inside the family's Celebration, Florida, home two weeks after the killings. 

Todt accused Megan of killing their children and then herself while he was not in the home.

During phone conversations with his sister from jail last spring, Todt claimed that his wife was the one who murdered their three children and then herself after prior unsuccessful attempts, and that he could not stop her because he was not in the home at the time. He also made similar claims in a letter to his father in June.

Investigators with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said Todt confessed to the murders of his family at the time of his arrest in January 2020 but has since pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorneys have not spoken publicly about Todt's claim that his wife was the real killer. 

Todt, a physical therapist, is accused of drugging, stabbing and suffocating his wife Megan, 42; their children, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4; and Breezy the dog (pictured).

Investigators said Todt, 45, confessed to killing his wife and children after his arrest in January. In her decision to no pursue the death penalty, Ayala cited 'serious concerns' about Todt's mental health

In reversing prosecutors' earlier decision to seek the death penalty against Todt, Ayala cited 'serious concerns regarding the mental health of the defendant' and concluded that it was 'not in the best interest of the people of the State of Florida to pursue the Death Penalty as a potential sentence,' reported WFTV.

Ayala also issued death penalty waivers in the case of Ishnar Marie Lopez and Alexis Ramos-Rivera, who have been charged with murder for the kidnapping and killing of Janice Zengotita-Torres, reported Orlando Sentinel. 

The victims' decomposing bodies were found inside their Celebration, Florida, home two weeks after their killings.

Todt accused Megan of killing their children.

The state attorney's office said in a statement that the relatives of all the victims were notified in advance of Ayala's decision.

'The pursuit of real justice has always been a priority for me, right up until my last day in office,' the statement from Ayala's office read. 'Difficult decisions like these are made with the utmost concern for all involved.'

Ayala, intentionally or not, thrust herself into the forefront of the anti-death penalty movement when she announced in early 2017 that her office would no longer seek the death penalty because of its cost and failure to deter crime. The decision came as somewhat of a surprise since she hadn’t mentioned it during the campaign.

A knife stained with what appears to be blood is seen after being seized by deputies.

Then-Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, responded by reassigning more than a dozen capital murder cases from Ayala's office to a prosecutor in a neighboring district, and top Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee announced budget cuts to Ayala’s office.

In jailhouse phone conversations and letters to family, Todt claimed his wife was the true killer.

Ayala took the fight all the way to Florida’s highest court, which sided with the governor.

The top prosecutor for Orange and Osceola counties in metro Orlando said the court’s definition of justice didn’t comport with the oath she had taken to administer her office in a just manner.

Last January, new Governor Ron DeSantis reassigned the case of Nicole Montalvo’s slaying from Ayala to State Attorney Brad King, who

Incoming state attorney Monique Worrell, who will be the second black woman to hold that office in Florida, is scheduled to be sworn in next week.
Prosecutors will NOT seek death penalty against man 'who killed his family
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