Matthew Terry’s lawyers allege that Lopez’s decision to seek capital punishment was politically motivated.

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Matthew Terry’s lawyers allege that Lopez’s decision to seek capital punishment was politically motivated.

TAMPA — Hillsborough County’s top prosecutor swore under oath Friday that her decision to seek the death penalty in a murder case a day after her controversial appointment by Florida’s governor was not motivated by politics, but by a careful assessment of the case facts and the law.

Susan S. Lopez was the star witness Friday in a Tampa courtroom. For about 45 minutes, she answered questions about why and how she decided it was appropriate to pursue capital punishment against Matthew Terry — accused in the May stabbing death of his girlfriend, Kay Baker.

The highly unusual scene, in which Lopez was questioned by a public defender and one of her own prosecutors, occurred after a judge declined to cancel a subpoena the defense issued for her testimony.

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