How the execution of a mentally ill man who saved his last meal dessert "for later" delivered Bill Clinton into the Oval Office

The Death of Ricky Ray Rector Ricky Ray Rector grew up in Conway, Arkansas, just an hour’s drive from Bill Clinton’s own hometown of Hot Springs. From the very earliest days of his life, Ricky was considered different and strange. He had few friends, and while other children were out running around, Ricky sat under a tree playing alone with sticks. Those who saw him said he was dreamy and detached, “as if he were locked into some private daze of withdrawal.”

Florida | The lengthy process behind deciding the death penalty

The process of deciding whether or not the state will pursue the death penalty is not in any way a quick decision. You’re dealing with someone’s life on the line.

Most state attorney’s offices have a committee that meets multiple times to go over the facts of the case before any decision is made. Even then, things can change.

Many now wonder whether the state will pursue the death penalty. But those at the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office told CBS12's Katie Bente that it’s not a quick or easy process.

It was a crime so heinous even law enforcement is upset by it.

“His murder was cold, it was senseless and completely unnecessary," Eli Lawson, a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), said.

Palm Beach County retiree Gary Levin was brutally killed earlier this year while driving for Lyft.

Officers believe the man responsible is 35-year-old Matthew Flores. He was indicted earlier this week with serious charges, including first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm.

"I think it's important to know that it's not just a decision where someone reads the facts of the case and they just stamp it as we're going to seek death. It is time well spent. Everyone is very thoughtful, and their opinions and understanding, you know what it means," Chrichet Mixon, Palm Beach County Assistant State Attorney and Chief of Homicide, said.

While this case will be handled by the Okeechobee State Attorney’s Office, it’s a similar process in Palm Beach County.

The decision goes to a committee made up of chief and assistant state attorneys in the office, as well as the standing State Attorney.

"We will sit together everyone has an opportunity to be heard. We discuss the aggravators in the case, what the facts are of the case and we take a vote," Mixon said.

The final vote ultimately goes to the state attorney.

But there are countless reasons for the process to never make it to a vote, starting with a 45-day time limit from the day of arraignment.

"There are some instances where an individual could take a plea, and there are some instances where that does happen," Mixon said.

The victim’s loved ones could also have a say in whether prosecutors pursue the death sentence.

"There are sometimes when we may receive information, whether it be from opposing counsel, or from the family, as to what their thoughts are as it relates to the death penalty, whether they would like for us to seek it or they are adamant for us not to seek," Mixon said.

Even if the state attorney’s office does choose to seek death in a trial, they can still, in a way, change their mind and waive the death penalty.

Source: WPEC news, Staff, September 15, 2023





"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted."

— Oscar Wilde

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