UPDATE (3/10): Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell has charged Pine Hills shooting suspect Keith Moses with 2nd-degree murder charges in the deaths of 9-year-old T’yonna Major, Nathacha Augustin and Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons.

Worrell stated Thursday that her office plans to indict Moses on first-degree murder charges in connection to their deaths, however, second-degree murder charges will keep Moses behind bars for now. He also received additional charges with a total of 16. 

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell, state attorney for Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, on Thursday announced that her office plans to indict Keith Moses, 19, on first-degree murder charges in connection with the shooting deaths of three people in Pine Hills on Feb. 22.

What You Need To Know

  • Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell will file charges against Keith Moses on Friday

  • At first, Moses will be charged with second-degree murder, Worrell said

  • The second-degree murder charge will keep Moses behind bars, according to Worrell

  • An indictment on first-degree murder charges is coming in the future, Worrell said

Moses, 19, will be charged with second-degree murder by firearm by the end of the day Friday, Worrell said.

Moses was arrested by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on six charges, including three in connection with the killings of 9-year-old T’yonna Major, Nathacha Augustin and Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons.

Florida law requires an indictment for first-degree murder, Worrell said. That indictment will come, she said, but for now, second-degree murder charges will keep Moses behind bars.

“This is not unusual,” Worrell said Thursday. “This is actually quite normal when prosecuting first-degree murder charges.”

Moses will also be charged with the first-degree attempted murder of Brandi Major, T’yonna’s mother, and Spectrum News 13 photojournalist Jesse Walden, Worrell said. They survived the shootings.

“It is the intention of this office to vigorously prosecute this case,” Worrell said. “To hold the offender accountable, for the safety and protection of this community.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, through a letter from General Counsel Ryan Newman, has requested information and documentation on past cases against Moses.

“The failure of your office to hold this individual accountable for his actions — despite his extensive criminal history and gang affiliation — may have permitted this dangerous individual to remain on the street,” the letter from Newman to Worrell said.

For weeks, Worrell has stated the 4.6 grams of marijuana Moses was accused of possessing in a November 2021 case while he was an adult was not submitted as evidence to her office by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Worrell doubled down Thursday, putting some of that blame on DeSantis.

“In 2019, Governor DeSantis executed Senate Bill 1020, and that amended the legal requirement of cannabis to a minimum requirement of .3% of THC,” Worrell explained. “What this means is it became near impossible for us to differentiate legal hemp from illegal cannabis.”

According to Ninth Judicial Circuit Court felony case data, Worrell has dropped roughly 44% of all felony cases in Orange and Osceola counties since she took office in 2021. That is on par with her three predecessors.

“The main reason being we have to follow the law,” Worrell stated. “When we find that the law has not been followed, we have to dismiss those cases.”

Worrell said she believes DeSantis is simply looking for a reason to remove her from office. She said she believes it’s because she is an elected Democrat not in line with his politics.

When asked for a response, the Governor’s Office said it will stick with its initial letter to Worrell’s office on Feb. 28. That letter said Moses “has been allowed to remain on the streets after multiple arrests, including one your office has refused to prosecute.”

The Major and Lyons families said during a news conference recently regarding the shooting deaths of their family members that they believe DeSantis is trying to make these killings part of a political agenda.

Letter to SAO9_2.28.23 by Chris Vaughn on Scribd