On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis laid the blame for the stabbing death of a married couple in Daytona Beach at the feet of President Joe Biden’s handling of the U.S. – Mexico border crisis and prosecutorial policies that are seen as soft on crime.
Terry Aultman, 48, and Brenda Aultman, 55, were riding their bicycles early on the morning of March 6 when Jean R. Macean, a citizen of Haiti, allegedly stabbed them both to death, according to Fox News. The couple was celebrating the city’s Bike Week.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young called the brutal attack one of the “most vicious and gruesome incidents that I’ve witnessed in my 20 years.”
Macean, who is being held without bond, has a history of run-ins with the law.
In 2019, the undocumented immigrant was arrested in Orange County on multiple drug-related charges. The charges were eventually dropped by Aramis Ayala, the then-State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, responsible for prosecutions in Orange and Osceola counties.
Ayala, a Democrat, is now running for Florida attorney general.
“Floridians should not be subject to the reckless open border policies that the Biden Administration is imposing on this country,” Gov. DeSantis said in a statement. “These policies are deadly — we also need answers as to why the State Attorney’s Office dropped charges against the defendant.”
In a reply released to Fox News, Ayala stated DeSantis and State Attorney General Ashley Moody don’t “have the slightest idea of how to keep our communities safe, which explains why violent crime and murders have increased under their watch.”
According to Ayala, prosecutions alone won’t solve the crime problems Floridians face.
Here’s an exclusive look into the bedroom of Jean Macean, arrested for stabbing a Daytona Beach couple to death. Macean’s step father says deputies ransacked the place looking for evidence. He says his son was out of control.#Fox35 @fox35orlando pic.twitter.com/HLW3jUy96g
— Valerie Boey FOX 35 (@vboey) March 11, 2022
“Even if prosecuted for a low-level drug offense,” Ayala stated, “Jean R. Macean would have still been free at the time he committed these heinous murders, which is why our entire crime strategy can’t rest on prosecutions alone. We need first and foremost a strong Attorney General who understands how to coordinate all our resources, including long-term drug treatment and ensuring that when necessary, violent offenders are held for immigration officials.”
This, Ayala asserted, is what happens when the attorney general stops behaving like the people’s lawyer.
“A strong Attorney General can help bridge these gaps but instead we’ve had an Attorney General who has spent the past four years being the Governor’s lawyer instead of the people’s lawyer, and sitting by silently as he consolidates power like a dictator,” Ayala claimed.
“The Governor knows I’ll fight back, which is why I’ve been a candidate less than a month and he’s already launching baseless attacks,” Ayala added. “Ashley Moody is once again acting like the Governor’s puppet insetead of our attorney. The job of the Attorney General is to be the people’s voice and right now we the people can’t hear Ashley Moody.”
In a reversal of a Trump-era policy, the Biden administration granted Haitian immigrants living in the U.S. an 18-month Temporary Protected Status (TPS) order, allowing those who qualified to apply for work permits and to freely travel, while protecting them from potential deportation.
Though it is not known when Macean arrived in the U.S., the TPS order was originally granted to Haitians in 2010 following a devastating earthquake which registered 7.0 on the Richter scale. Approximately 220,000 people reportedly lost their lives in the powerful quake, and 1.5 million lost their homes. The TPS order was since extended on multiple occasions.
DeSantis has long been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s border policies.
In addition to commenting on Macean’s case, DeSantis’ press release recalled the case of Honduran citizen Yery Noel Medina Ulloa, who allegedly killed a Jacksonville man. According to reports, Ulloa crossed into the United States by posing as an unaccompanied minor before heading to Florida.
DeSantis officially named the “Biden Border Crisis” by executive order in September 2021. The move was followed by a complaint filed by Moody challenging a Biden policy that allows for migrants apprehended at the southern border to be released into American communities.
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