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DeSantis says 'reckless open border policies' led to murders of two more Florida residents

Governor cites recent killings of a Dayton Beach couple, whom an illegal alien from Haiti has admitted killing.

Published: March 30, 2022 5:42pm

Updated: March 30, 2022 11:12pm

(The Center Square) -

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday blamed the recent killings of a Dayton Beach couple on President Joe Biden's immigration policies and on what he called "soft on crime" enforcement efforts of local prosecutors.

Haitian national Jean R. Macean, who was in the U.S. illegally, confessed to the murders of the Daytona Beach couple, the Florida State Attorney's office announced Tuesday. Macean was indicted on first-degree murder charges 20 days after he was charged with killing Terry, 48, and Brenda, 55, Aultman.

“The Biden Administration’s dangerous immigration policies, as well as the soft on crime policies of the 9th Circuit State Attorney’s Office (Orange and Osceola counties), have once again resulted in the needless deaths of innocent Floridians,” DeSantis said Wednesday.

“Floridians should not be subject to the reckless open border policies that the Biden Administration is imposing on this country,” the governor added.

After attending Daytona Beach Bike Week, the Aultmans allegedly were followed home by Macean. On March 6, their bodies were found on the side of the road covered in blood with multiple stab wounds and their throats slit.

It took four days for police to find the suspect, who was at large, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said. Young had tweeted photos of the suspect on March 8; on March 10 announced he’d been arrested.

After he was apprehended, police discovered that Macean had one felony arrest and two misdemeanor arrests related to drug charges, Young said.

"This is probably one of the most vicious and gruesome incidents that I’ve witnessed in my 20 years," Young told reporters in the early stages of the investigation.

On March 11, Macean confessed to the murders, Young said.

Brenda’s daughter, Sara Turner, wrote on their GoFundMe page, “They were the last people on Earth to deserve this, and had so much life ahead of them. They had just gotten their dream home, a short walk from the ocean. We had been setting up so many future endeavors and excursions. Fishing, boating, bicycle adventures, grilling out, riding the ocean waves together. They were so loved and adored by every person who had the honor to know them. I'm going to miss their raw humor and playful banter. Their laughter is always lingering in my ears. Their genuine smiles, and the love in their eyes are permanently burnt into my mind. There is no greater horror than these circumstances.”

Macean was previously arrested in Orange County in 2019 on multiple drug related charges involving cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Former State Attorney Aramis Ayala dropped the charges on Feb. 10, 2020, for unknown reasons.

“We also need answers as to why the State Attorney’s Office dropped charges against the defendant,” DeSantis said.

Rather than be deported for being in the U.S. illegally, Haitians were granted Temporary Protected Status by the Biden administration in 2021, which prompted tens of thousands to enter Del Rio, Texas, causing a humanitarian crisis last September. The reversal of the previous administration’s policy allowed Macean and countless others to stay in the U.S.

The Aultmans were killed after two Florida men were allegedly murdered in recent months by foreign nationals in the U.S. illegally.

St. Augustine resident, 25-year-old Corbin Wagner, was allegedly killed by Dominican national Orlando Gonzales-Beato, who was charged with driving under the influence manslaughter. He had no U.S. driver’s license or address and a blood-alcohol level of .270, three times the legal limit, FHP reported.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a detainer on Gonzales-Beato at the time for him to be released to ICE because he was in the U.S. illegally.

Their murders also came after a Jacksonville father of four was allegedly stabbed to death in October by a Honduran national. The 24-year-old man had entered the U.S. illegally claiming to be an unaccompanied minor. It took the work of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to uncover his real identity and age, which hadn’t been done by Homeland Security or Border Patrol agents when he first entered the U.S. illegally.

Florida has sued the Biden administration over its immigration policies several times. Attorney General Ashley Moody has demanded that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas resign. Other elected officials have called for him to be impeached.

Mayorkas has ignored their calls and instead announced in December a plan to “enhance protections for stateless individuals in the U.S.”

“DHS is committed to pursuing initiatives to enhance recognition of, and protections for, vulnerable populations, including stateless individuals within the United States,” Mayorkas said.

DHS says it recognizes “that a significant number of stateless individuals reside in the United States and that such individuals face an assortment of serious challenges and obstacles, such as a lack of identity documents.” The new policy “will reduce barriers to accessing legal immigration status and associated benefits.”

The foreign nationals allegedly responsible for the deaths of the Jacksonville and St. Augustine men had either falsified identification documents or no documents, according to statements made by the arresting law enforcement agencies.

While DHS is prioritizing protections for “stateless” individuals illegally in the U.S., DeSantis says his efforts are to prioritize protecting Floridians’ lives.

Larry Keefe, Florida's new public safety czar, said, “The Biden administration has continued to ignore its sworn duty to secure our border, to enforce immigration laws, and to protect Florida from illegal immigration.”

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