JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While speaking during a live candidate spotlight on Jacksonville’s Morning News on News 104.5 WOKV, State Attorney Angela Corey said the mother of a murder victim appears to be more interested in publicity than grieving for her daughter.
Corey invoked the name of Darlene Farah when asked by host Rich Jones about the role of a victim, and their family, in prosecution. Darlene Farah has been a vocal advocate against the death penalty in the trial of James Rhodes, the man accused of murdering her daughter during a robbery in 2013.
“It is a constitutional duty to consult with the victim, but the victim does not tell the state attorney what sentence should be imposed in any case,” Corey said. “We give their feelings great weight, and we have done that with the very vocal Darlene Farah, who appears to be more interested in publicity than actually grieving for her daughter.”
Corey said other victims have “suffered just as grievously as Ms. Farah, and they aren’t complaining at all. They’re quietly waiting for justice to take its course.”
WOKV spoke with Farah to get her response.
“How can you say something like that? I’ve been back and forth before I even went public with me not wanting the death penalty for about a year and a half,” Farah told WOKV.
Farah said she went back-and-forth with the state attorney’s office trying to get two life sentences for her daughter’s accused killer but she wasn’t getting anywhere.
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“It’s not about the publicity, it’s about what’s in the best interest for my children,” Farah said. “Shelby is in a better place than we are. Shelby is not coming back. I’ve accepted that.
“How can you say something like that? I cry every day over my daughter’s death.”
WOKV reached out to Corey in an attempt to clarify her statements, and Corey doubled down on her comments.
“If there were a victim’s family out being as vocal and publicity-seeking as Darlene Farah has been on this case demanding that I seek the death penalty in a case where it were inappropriate, I would not do that,” Corey said. “Likewise, the fact that she is out vocally and publicly, very publicly, continued to demand that I do not seek the death penalty in this case, I am saying that I will still do my job and follow the law in the state of Florida.
“Angela Corey does not impose the death penalty, as the state attorney we seek the death penalty.”
The trial of Rhodes has been delayed while Florida’s death penalty sentencing procedure is being reviewed.
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