ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis initiated an audit of Florida State Attorney Monique Worrell, the SA for the 9th Judicial Circuit, covering Orlando, after the deaths of a woman, a child, and a news reporter.
The families of slain reporter Dylan Lyons and 9-year-old T’Yonna Major are speaking out after meeting together in grief. Not only are the families in mourning, but they are also angry with state officials, alleging that both DeSantis and U.S. Senator Rick Scott have used their loved ones as political talking points.
As a result, NeJame said Lyons’ and Major’s “families are united in their disgust over Governor DeSantis and Senator Scott as they seem to be exploiting their dead children for their own political agendas, twisting the facts as to mislead the public as to the reality of the situation.”
In a statement made by the victims’ families’ attorney, the families accuse both the governor and U.S. senator, also a former Florida governor, of politicizing the deaths of their loved ones. Thursday, Sen. Scott said in a statement on Twitter that he was “demanding answers” for Worrell, and that Central Florida families “deserve accountability,” regarding the recent shooting.
Speaking on the families’ behalf, attorney Mark NeJame said statements by Scott and the governor’s audit of Worrell are actions that “have intentionally and with what appears to be malice conspired with one another in a coordinated effort to paint a false narrative,” and “defame” Worrell with responsibility for Moses’ criminal actions.
NeJame said that while the governor and Florida senator say Moses’ prior convictions meant he should not have been free to commit more crimes, the crimes in question all occurred while he was a juvenile and were therefore not legally convictions, according to state statutes.
Additionally, Moses’ previous conviction for possession of marijuana means he would have been out for “months before his killing spree even began” due to the crime being a misdemeanor in Florida.
NeJame said the fact that “DeSantis and Scott have made time to take to a podium and issue a joint statement condemning the Office of the State Attorney, filled with half-truths and false propaganda” but have not reached out to the families or offered “condolences or any expression of sympathy” is “sickening” to the families of both Lyons and Major.
Both families said via NeJame that they were grateful to Orange County Sheriff John Mina for his and the sheriff’s office’s work, compassion, and professionalism, and that Worrell and SAO9 had been “on the scene the very night of the shootings and are proceeding strongly with the prosecution” of Moses, earning the families’ gratitude as well.
On Wednesday, DeSantis’ office sent a letter to Worrell’s office requesting documents and policies regarding the justice process for shooter Keith Moses, the letter said SAO9’s actions, or lack thereof, were a “failure” to hold him accountable for his crimes in Pine Hills.
WFLA.com has reached out to the offices of both DeSantis and Scott for response to the families’ comments.