ORLANDO, Fla. – A judge ruled on Friday that the attorney for accused double murderer Markeith Loyd did not meet the minimum requirements necessary to serve as lead counsel on the capital case.
Judge Frederick Lauten agreed with attorney Roger Weeden, who filed a motion Thursday asking to be removed from representing Loyd because he has never tried a case that resulted in a first-degree murder conviction.
“I think that it’s just far too risky, and that it’s been raised pre trial, in that the prudent course for multiple reasons is to grant Mr. Weeden’s motion to withdraw and appoint lead counsel to represent Mr. Loyd," Lauten said.
Loyd addressed the court briefly before a decision was made and told the judge that he would like a new attorney. Lauten said he took Loyd's request into consideration.
State prosecutors argued that Weeden should be permitted to stay on the case because he has been representing Loyd since April 12, 2017, and bringing in a new attorney this close to Loyd's September trial date could postpone proceedings.
Lauten acknowledged that new court dates will need to be established once he appoints new counsel, which should happen within a week.
“I think inevitably this means the trial in September is not likely to happen, and so I’m going to give some thought to it and invite some response from appointed counsel to whether we can move the September trial to the January trial date, and then just set new trial dates for the January trial, on when that might be,” Lauten said.
Loyd was scheduled to go to trial in September in connection with the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and then in January he was to be tried on charges related to the fatal shooting of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.
Terence Lenamon, a Miami attorney who Loyd says he trusts, was brought up as a possible replacement for Weeden because Lenamon is already familiar with the case. Ultimately, it will be up to Lauten to decide who will represent Loyd.
Loyd and his attorneys also recently filed a motion asking for State Attorney Brad King to be removed from the case. Loyd's attorney argues King's handling of Loyd's case is a conflict of interest because of his involvement with the Justice Administrative Commission, which approves funding of expert witnesses.
Lauten denied that request Friday.