Drug cartel hitman seeks reduction of Florida life sentence

MIAMI, April 30 (UPI) -- Jorge Ayala, convicted in three murders for a Miami drug kingpin, asked that his life prison term be reduced since he cooperated with authorities in the 1980s.

Attorney Jim Lewis said Ayala, who has served about 20 years of his sentence, thinks he deserves "a chance at redemption" and filed a request last week in Miami-Dade circuit court, The Miami Herald reported Monday.


"I think he's done a lot of good. He put a lot of people in jail, one of the few people who stood up to the Colombian Cartel," Lewis said.

Ayala, 48, was a cartel gunman police believed was to blame for 35 drug-related contract murders. He pleaded guilty in 1993 to three murders and was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

He is best known for his role working for Griselda Blanco, a vicious Miami drug kingpin in the 1970s and 1980s, known as "the Godmother." She spent nearly 20 years in jail before her 2004 deportation to Colombia, where she was gunned down in September.

Because of Ayala, Blanco was convicted of three murders, though police say they believe she was behind at least 40 killings.


Ayala detailed the slayings in the 2006 documentary "Cocaine Cowboys."

Ayala will be moved from the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution near Pensacola to a Miami-Dade jail, the Herald said. A hearing will likely be scheduled in the next few months.

If released, Ayala would be deported to Colombia.

His lawyer is planning to call witnesses to testify about Ayala's cooperation, including former statewide prosecutor Cynthia Imperato, now a Broward Circuit judge, court documents indicated.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's office said it was deciding whether to oppose the move.

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