Florida to seek death penalty against man accused of murdering Lyft driver

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OKEECHOBEE, Fla. (AP) – Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against a Florida man accused of killing a Lyft driver whose car he allegedly stole in an attempt to get away with another murder.

Okeechobee County prosecutors recently filed a court notice that they will seek the death penalty against Matthew Flores, who was charged in January with first-degree murder and armed robbery. 30’s murder 74-year-old Gary Levin. They cited a number of aggravating circumstances, including that the killing occurred while the suspect was fleeing another crime – a robbery – and that it was “cold, calculated and premeditated”.

Flores, 36, was charged earlier this month in Levine’s shooting death. Flores, who remains in jail without bond, will be arraigned next week in Okeechobee County. Court records do not list an attorney for Levin in the case.

Flores has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Jose Carlos Martinez on Jan. 43. 24 in Hardy County in central Florida.

Investigators say after killing Martinez, Flores stole several cars to drive to Palm Beach County, where a friend ordered him a ride using the Lyft phone app. Officials said the man is not facing charges, as they did not know Flores was wanted.

Levine accepted the request for a lift and picked up Flores.

Flores shot Levin inside his 2022 Kia Stinger and then dumped his body near Lake Okeechobee, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said. Three days later, Flores was arrested in North Carolina after police said he gave them a lead A high-speed chase in Levin’s car.

Investigators found Levin’s body five days after the murder when they returned to his ride with Flores.

Flores was released from a Florida prison in 2017 after serving a year for auto theft, grand theft and illegal possession of a firearm.

Levine’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His daughter-in-law is an Associated Press reporter.



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