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Markeith Loyd's trial in death of pregnant ex-girlfriend begins Friday

Jury selection expected to take several weeks

ORLANDO, Fla. – Nearly three years after deputies say a pregnant mother of two was fatally shot outside of her home, her accused killer will face trial.

Markeith Loyd faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Sade Dixon, on Dec. 13, 2016. A second trial is scheduled next year for Loyd to face charges connected to the shooting death of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton, who officials said was gunned down while trying to take Loyd into custody weeks after Dixon's death.

Even as recently as this week, Loyd's attorneys were attempting to have the trial delayed yet again but Judge Leticia Marques denied that request. Jury selection begins Friday morning.

[READ: Sade Dixon's family is still waiting on justice more than 2 years laterWitness describes moments after OPD officer was fatally shot]

"It's been three years folks, it's time to go to trial," Marques said Wednesday.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said that on the night Dixon was shot, she and Loyd had been arguing via text about Loyd being at a club with other women.

"I was trying to reach out to you but you was doing you or wanted me to think that.. and I was at the club by my damn self not them girls or the dude they was with who was smoking that I know," Loyd texted Dixon at 8:45 p.m., according to records.

Loyd immediately followed that up with another text.

"Yes I been mad and in my feelings so instead of doing other (expletive) I started to flirt so anything else I ain't did (expletive).. all you had to do was answer my calls but you was doing you," the text read.

Deputies said Loyd went to Dixon's home after that text to confront her. He's accused of shooting Dixon multiple times and shooting her brother, who survived.

"Don't know if you go make it hope you don't, told you don't play with me and you went and got a gun on me instead of talking to me so you wanted it when all I ever wanted was to talk now we paying the price," Loyd texted Dixon at 9:24 p.m., shortly after the shooting, according to records.

Deputies said Loyd used the same gun to shoot Clayton outside a John Young Parkway Walmart as she tried to confront him. Loyd was arrested on Jan. 17, nine days after Clayton died.

[RELATED: How the hunt and capture of Markeith Loyd unfoldedDefense attorneys say they're not ready for Markeith Loyd's trial]

Since then, Loyd has claimed that Dixon's brother attacked him, so he fired his weapon in self-defense. When questioned about Clayton's death, Loyd said "she pulled her gun out first" and told investigators she should have "waited for back up," according to an affidavit.

Loyd has been to court about three dozen times during the past three years for the Dixon case. In that time, he's received new counsel and a new judge when the original one overseeing the case retired. The trial has been delayed multiple times from its original start date of May 1, 2017.

Attorneys have claimed that Loyd has traumatic brain injuries, that he's mentally incompetent and that he should not face the death penalty.

Records show that during the trial, prosecutors plan to present autopsy photographs, sonogram video, crime scene diagrams and other evidence. Dixon's family members, including her brother, and an Orange County deputy who performed CPR on Dixon the night of the shooting are among notable witnesses.

Jury selection begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday and is expected to take two to three weeks. The guilt phase of the trial will likely take seven or eight days. Officials expect it to take another seven or eight days if the trial reaches the penalty phase.

If Loyd is convicted of first-degree murder, he will face the death penalty.


About the Author:

Adrienne Cutway

Adrienne Cutway joined News 6's digital team in October 2016 to cover breaking news, crime and community interest stories. She graduated from the University of Central Florida and began her journalism career at the Orlando Sentinel.

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