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Sentencing phase begins in Markeith Loyd trial

Markeith Loyd/Photo: Orlando Police Department


Jurors are deciding whether to recommend the death penalty for Markeith Loyd, who was found guilty of the murder of Orlando police lieutenant Debra Clayton. The sentencing phase of the trial began today. 

Loyd is already serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon. She was pregnant when Loyd shot her to death in December 2016. 

Loyd was on the run when he fatally shot officer Clayton as she tried to arrest him outside a Walmart a few weeks later. 

“It’s not an issue of getting out of prison, it’s an issue of sanctioning the death penalty,” defense attorney Terence Lenamon told the jury in his opening statement. 

He said even if jurors rejected the argument that Loyd was insane at the time he killed Clayton, they have to look at evidence that “supports a mental health diagnosis.” 

Jurors began hearing evidence from witnesses for the state, including a former Orlando police officer who Loyd hit during a traffic stop arrest in 1998, Sade Dixon’s mother, Stephanie Dixon Daniels, and witnesses to Lt. Clayton’s shooting. 

They’ll also hear how Loyd was beaten and lost an eye during his arrest following a 9-day multi-agency search after Lt. Clayton was killed. 


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of earthquakes, criminal trials and rugby ... Read Full Bio »

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