Markeith Loyd could face death penalty, legal experts say

ORLANDO, Fla. – The search for an accused police killed ended after nine long days but the road to justice is far from finished, legal experts say.

Orlando, Orange County, state and federal law enforcement officers captured Markeith Loyd, 41, Tuesday evening at an abandoned house five-minutes from where police said the suspect gunned down Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton at Walmart on Jan. 9.

Clayton was attempting to contact Loyd at the John Young Parkway store because he was wanted on a warrant for the Dec. 13 shooting death of his former pregnant girlfriend.

Loyd will likely have a first appearance in Orange County this week where his bail will definitely be denied, News 6 legal expert Steven Kramer said.

After his arrest Tuesday, Loyd was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment. He was injured during his capture.

Loyd will be booked into the Orange County Jail after he is determined healthy enough to leave the hospital.

"He will be kept in isolation in jail," Kramer said. "He has nothing to lose."

Loyd was held up in an abandoned Orlando house with two firearms, one with a 100-round drum attached, and was wearing body armor, according to Orlando police.

The man Crimeline offered a $100,000 reward for faces a slew of charges which could result in a death sentence, Kramer said.

Timeline: How the hunt and capture of Markeith Loyd unfolded

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said deputies will serve warrants Tuesday night to charge Loyd with two first-degree murder charges and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm for the shooting death of his former girlfriend, 24-year-old Sade Dixon and her unborn child.

Loyd is also charged with one count of attempted homicide for allegedly shooting Dixon's brother, Demings said.

Orlando police have not yet announced the charges related to Clayton's death.

First-degree murder of a law enforcement officer is punishable by death or life in prison without parole.

Kramer said it is unclear whether Loyd will also be charged with felony murder for Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, who was fatally struck while on his motorcycle attempting to aid in the search for Loyd.

Orlando police Chief John Mina said after Loyd's capture that more arrests are coming for people who aided and abetted Loyd on his run from the law.

Loyd's former boss, his niece and an ex-girlfriend were arrested this week and charged with helping Loyd avoid capture.

The property where Loyd was captured is tied to some of his known associates, Mina said.

As for a trial, it won't happen anytime soon, Kramer said. It could be months before all the evidence and witnesses are processed.

The prosecutor who is assigned to the case will be "a skilled pro who knows what they are doing with death cases," Kramer said.

Unless Loyd hires another defense lawyer, he will receive a public defender.

Loyd will be tried at the downtown Orange County Courthouse. Both Orlando and Orange County are in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court.

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