TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis is auditing Florida’s 9th Circuit Court State Attorney Monique Worrell for her “failure” to hold Keith Melvin Moses “accountable for his actions” before multiple shootings that killed a mother, a 9-year-old girl and a local news reporter in Pine Hills, Florida. Two others were injured.
In a letter sent to Worrell, which was obtained by WFLA Investigator Mahsa Saeidi, the governor described the shootings as an “inexplicable tragedy” for the state, calling them “shocking” and “horrific.”
The governor said it was “galling” Moses was “allowed to remain on the streets after multiple arrests,” which the SAO had “refused to prosecute.” Moses is also reportedly “a known gang member,” according to the letter from DeSantis’ office.
According to the governor’s office, his criminal record includes cannabis and firearm possession charges along with charges of attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm.
Moses is accused of shooting and killing Nathacha Augustin, 38, at her home last Wednesday morning. He returned to the area and shot and killed Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons, and 9-year-old T’yonna Major at her home. Major and her mother were both shot, but her mother survived, according to reports.
Moses has pleaded not guilty to the murders.
DeSantis’ letter said Moses should not have been in a position to commit his latest crimes and the state “must determine if Mr. Moses was enabled by gaps in our sentencing laws that must be corrected, or, to be frank, your office’s failure to properly administer justice.”
Under authority granted to the governor by the Florida Statutes, DeSantis has asked that SA Worrell provide, in writing:
- Copies of any and all reports, letters, summaries, statements, and emails regarding Keith Melvin Moses
- Copies of any and all policies, reports, letters, summaries, statements, and emails regarding decisions made by your office related to Keith Melvin Moses
- Copies of any and all reports, letters, summaries, statemetns, and emails regarding Keith Melvin Moses’ Juvenile Felony Probation
- Copies of any and all documents relating to the juvenile record of Keith Melvin Moses
- Any and all communications between Officer Estefano Pino and the Office of the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit from Nov. 13, 2021 through Jan. 18, 2022
- Information on the number and circumstances of individuals who were arrested for committing a felony or had violated the terms of their probation by being arrested for crime, had prior criminal history, and were not prosecuted by the Ninth Circuit’s State Attorney’s Office
The governor asked Worrell to provide his office with the documents by March 14. Additionally, documents that must remain confidential must be identified for the purpose of the request.
The statutory mechanism for the request and review of Worrell by the governor’s office is the same as what the governor cited, at least in part, for his suspension of 13th Judicial Circuit Attorney Andrew Warren in 2022. However, the request for documents to Worrell stops short of the actions taken by the governor toward Warren and his duties in the Tampa Bay area.
Warren is currently appealing his suspension in both state and federal courts, with an appeal before the Florida Supreme Court underway and a separate appeal to a higher federal court in Atlanta.
Speaking with WESH, Worrell said that she was not “hiding from what happened in this case.”
Going further, “The only person responsible for what happened last week is the individual who did it,” Worrell told WESH. “We do our jobs and we take it very seriously. And to imply otherwise is absolutely shameful.”
Worrell’s office provided the following statement in response to the letter from the office of Gov. DeSantis.