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Jurors Recommend Death Penalty for Markeith Loyd in Murder of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton


Markeith Loyd appears in court

Convicted murderer Markeith Demangzlo Loyd, 46, previously dodged the death sentence for murdering pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon, 24, but jurors in a separate trial recommended on Wednesday that he should get capital punishment for killing Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton, 42.

“Lieutenant Clayton was devoted to her family, faith, and community,” Police Chief Orlando Rolón said. “Although the trial has now concluded, the Clayton family continues to endure an unthinkable loss, and we will never forget the sacrifice they have made in service to our community. On that same day, our community suffered an additional loss when Orange County Deputy Sheriff Norman Lewis died in a vehicle crash while responding to assist. Our hearts are forever grateful for the sacrifice Deputy Lewis and his entire family have made.”

Loyd shot and killed Dixon during a confrontation on Dec. 13, 2016. In meandering testimony, he insisted he killed her in self-defense, but prosecutors said he had every opportunity to back out of the situation. He intended on killing her, they said.

He ultimately got life in prison without the possibility of parole, however, after attorney Terence Lenamon highlighted Loyd’s rough childhood and mental illness.

Loyd was on the run when a witness saw him at a local Walmart and found an officer: Clayton. Clayton, who was posthumously promoted from master sergeant, confronted Loyd. Loyd opened fire and continued to shoot when Clayton was on the ground. Again, Loyd testified this was all in self-defense. Again, jurors did not believe him.

In the new penalty phase, Lenamon called on jurors–at least one of them–to recommend life. Support from Loyd’s family was reason alone, he said.

Markeith Loyd’s daughter Kianna Loyd testified that her father once called her from a halfway house, believing that police were going to kill him.

Loyd’s 16-month prison sentence in the late 1990s exacerbated his mental illness, Lenamon said.

Loyd doesn’t believe himself to live with mental illness because he wants to be seen as fearless and admitting to having a mental illness would be a sign of weakness, psychiatrist Psychologist Marvin Dunn said.

But jurors also saw testimony about the loss of both women, including from Sade’s mother Stephanie Dixon-Daniels and Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill.

As from the beginning of the case, Loyd spoke out in court during his penalty phase.

[Booking photo via Orange County Jail]

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