ORLANDO, Fla. – The Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade ruling was expected to be cited Wednesday during a hearing for Markeith Loyd, who is accused of shooting and killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer.
Markeith Loyd was arrested on murder charges in the 2017 deaths of Sade Dixon and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.
Attorneys representing Loyd, who faces two upcoming murder trials, recently filed new motions, again asking a judge to remove the death penalty as Loyd's possible punishment. The judge denied a similar motion last month.
During Wednesday's hearing, Loyd’s defense said multiple times, “The state is going to kill someone.”
At that time, the judge ruled that the defense can not call the state or state attorneys “killers” for wanting the death penalty for Loyd.
Another motion brought up at the hearing was the use of biblical references during the trial.
“I’m not going to be preaching religion but there are decisions we make based on morals,” Loyd's defense said when considering the death penalty.
The judge granted the motion to not use biblical references during trial: “Quoting the Bible is not allowed.”
The state’s first witness in the hearing was an Orange County Sheriff’s Office detective who was the lead homicide investigator in the case.
The second witness called to testify was Takeshia Bryant, who was inside Walmart with her son when she recognized Loyd.
According to Bryant, Loyd was married to her cousin and she knew he was wanted by police after seeing his image on the news.
“I was a little nervous and was anxious to get outside,” Bryant said.
As Bryant left Walmart, she stopped Debra Clayton in the parking lot, warning her that Loyd was inside.
Bryant told the court that Loyd came outside with a gun in his hand and that she and her son got behind a car when he started firing shots.
Byant told prosecutors that after the shooting, she saw Loyd standing over Clayton.
The third witness called to the stand was cleaning the Walmart parking lot during the time of the shooting.
“I seen an officer and another gentleman face to face, I saw the gentleman trying to get around the officer, then I started hearing shooting,” he told the court.
After the shooting the man ran up to the officer to see if he could help.
The state called one final witness to the stand, Peter Cadiz, who is an Orlando police officer and was the lead investigator for Clayton's death.
Timeline of events
What began with the fatal shooting of a pregnant woman in Pine Hills in 2016 turned into an all-out manhunt for the man accused of killing her and an Orlando police officer.
The search for 41-year-old Markeith Loyd gripped the Central Florida community for more than nine days before the wanted man was arrested on Jan. 17, 2017.
Below is a look at the events that led to that search and what has unfolded since it began. Please note that some times are approximate.
Dec. 10: Sade Dixon, a 24-year-old pregnant mother of two, moves back into her parents' Pine Hills home. She provides few details on why she decided to make the move, but she does tell her family that her then-boyfriend, Markeith Loyd, had bitten her during a fight. Her family said that she had to go to the doctor to get a tetanus shot.
9:13 p.m., Dec. 13: Dixon is at home eating dinner with her family when she gets a call and goes outside to talk to Loyd, her family says. The two started arguing and shots were fired, police said. Dixon is fatally shot and her 26-year-old brother, Ronald Steward, is wounded in the gunfire trying to protect his sister. Dixon's children, ages 2 and 8, were home at the time of the shooting. They were unharmed.
Afternoon, Dec. 14: Stephanie Dixon-Daniels and Ron Dixon held a press conference outside their Pine Hills home to beg the community for help in finding their daughter's killer. “We would like the killer, you know who you are – turn yourself in. Don't make them come get you,” Dixon-Daniels said. Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill also attended the press conference.
5:15 p.m., Dec. 14: The Orange County Sheriff's Office named Loyd as a suspect in Dixon's murder and her brother's shooting. A news release listed Loyd as armed and dangerous.
5 p.m., Dec. 15: Loyd's criminal history starts to come to light. He was arrested on a murder charge in 1995, but that charge was later dropped because a witness lied about key information. In 1998, he's accused of battery on a law enforcement officer, for which he spends four years in jail.
7:17 a.m., Jan. 9: A civilian at Walmart at Princeton Street and John Young Parkway approached Orlando police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, 42, and told her that Loyd is at the store. Clayton radioed in for backup and approached Loyd. A witness told News 6 that Loyd started shooting when Clayton yelled for him to stop running. Orlando Police Chief John Mina said additional officers arrived within 28 seconds, but by that time Clayton was already down and Loyd had left the scene.
7:19 a.m., Jan. 9: Officers at Walmart radioed in to say an officer was down and broadcasted a call for help. First responders perform CPR on Clayton and transport her to a local hospital.
7:26 a.m., Jan. 9: Orange County Sheriff's Office Captain Joe Carter sees a vehicle matching the description of Loyd's vehicle. Carter follows Loyd into Royal Oaks Apartments. Loyd steps out of the dark green Mercury and fires two shots at Carter's unmarked Ford Explorer. Carter is unharmed.
7:29 a.m., Jan. 9: A man calls 911 to say that someone matching Loyd's description carjacked him at gunpoint. The caller said the man drove his 2013 Volkswagen Passat through a fence. The victim later identified Loyd as the man who carjacked him, police said.
7:40 a.m., Jan. 9: Clayton, 42, is pronounced dead at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Clayton was a 17-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department as well as a wife, mother and University of Central Florida alumna with a bachelor's degree in public administration and a master's degree in criminal justice.
9 a.m., Jan. 9: Seventeen Orange County schools are placed on lockdown.
9:36 a.m., Jan. 9: The Orlando Police Department names Loyd as the suspect in Clayton's death.
9:43 a.m., Jan. 9: A motorcycle deputy responding to the search for Loyd is fatally struck by a van on Pine Hills Road and Balboa Drive.
10:45 a.m., Jan. 9: City officials hold a news conference detailing the deaths of the two law enforcement officers and the search for Loyd. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings calls the day one of the worst in his career. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer calls for a citywide day of mourning.
3 p.m., Jan. 9: OPD announces that it's focusing its search on Brookside Apartments, located at Rosewood Way and Cinderlane Parkway. Videos and pictures from the scene showed a heavy police presence and armed SWAT officers as officials searched the area.
3:20 p.m., Jan. 9: Lockdowns at several Orange County Public Schools are lifted.
5:09 p.m., Jan. 9: Officials identify Deputy First Class Norman Lewis as the deputy who was fatally struck while on his motorcycle attempting to aid in the search for Loyd. Lewis had been with the Orange County Sheriff's Office since 2005, before that he was a student at the UCF and played for the school's football team.
6 p.m., Jan. 9: The search at Brookside Apartments ends and residents are allowed back into their homes. Loyd was not found. The manhunt continues into the night.
10 p.m., Jan. 9: A GoFundMe page was created for Clayton's family. The goal was set at $10,000, but about 15 hours later more than $13,000 would be donated.
7:15 a.m., Jan. 10: Demings tells News 6 that officials are continuing to search for Loyd and follow tips. He said that while he does still believe Loyd is in the area, the search is not as concentrated as it was the day before at Brookside Apartments. He reiterated that Loyd will be found.
12 p.m., Jan. 10: Lake County Sheriff's Office helps OCSO and OPD search a home in Clermont, acting on a lead that Loyd could be inside. The homeowner consents to the search. Loyd was not found.
1:48 p.m., Jan. 10: The FBI Most Wanted Twitter account tweeted a photo of Loyd.
1:50 p.m., Jan. 10: Officials announce that Clayton's funeral will be held Saturday at 2 p.m.
2:30 p.m., Jan. 10: Demings announces that the Crimeline reward has been raised to $100K, the biggest reward Crimeline has ever received. Officials said they are working to get arrest warrants signed for the people they believe have been helping Loyd evade arrest for several weeks.
2:45 p.m., Jan. 10: More details on the funeral arrangements for Clayton and Lewis are announced. Lewis' will be 11 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church in Orlando with a viewing Thursday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Clayton's will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church.
7 p.m., Jan. 10: Mourners gather for a vigil at the Walmart where Clayton was fatally shot. Community leaders at the event urged the public to step forward if they have any information that could help authorities arrest Loyd.
9:21 p.m., Jan. 10: Zarghee Mayan is booked into the Orange County Jail on a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Officials said Mayan helped Loyd avoid arrest after Dixon's murder in December. He also told authorities that Loyd has been wearing a bulletproof vest.
12:39 p.m., Jan. 11: OCSO tweets a link to a GoFundMe page to benefit Lewis' family.
3 p.m., Jan. 11: Lakensha Smith-Loyd, Markeith Loyd's niece, is arrested on an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder charge for transporting $200 to her uncle after Dixon's murder, police said.
8:15 p.m., Jan. 11: A third person is arrested in connection with the search for Loyd. Officials identified the woman as Jameis Slaughter, one of Loyd's ex-girlfriends.
9:30 a.m., Jan. 12: Smith-Loyd and Slaughter appear before an Orange County judge. Slaughter's bond is set at $505,000 and Smith-Loyd's bond is set at $750,000. The prosecutor said in court that Smith-Loyd knows where her uncle Markeith Loyd is. "I think it's reasonable to assert that as she stands here today, she knows where he is and has not furnished that information," the prosecutor said.
3:30 p.m., Jan. 12: More than 100 places have been searched in the manhunt for Loyd, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said. Loyd's clothing was found near the crime scene were he allegedly shot and killed Sgt. Clayton. Police said Loyd was wearing a bulletproof vest when he shot Clayton and she returned fire. The vest may have saved his life, Mina said. Crimeline Executive Director says more than 800 tipsters have called in.
12:55 a.m., Jan. 13: The Orange County Sheriff's Office announces that the funeral for Lewis has been postponed until Sunday because of a family emergency.
8:10 a.m., Jan. 13: The search for Loyd expanded into Polk County, as authorities in Haines City issued an alert about the suspected cop killer. Haines City police said Loyd has family in the area and may be hiding in the city. Lakeland police and the Polk County Sheriff's Office also tweeted information about the search for Loyd, urging residents to call 911 and vowing to find Loyd if he's in the area.
2:45 p.m., Jan. 14: Orlando Police Chief John Mina posthumously promoted fallen Master Sgt. Debra Clayton to the rank of lieutenant during her funeral.
2:30 p.m., Jan. 15: Mourners gather for Deputy Norman Lewis' funeral, during which Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings posthumously awards him the agency Purple Heart.
3:30 p.m., Jan. 17: Mina releases a new digitally altered photo of Loyd after receiving tips that he may have shaved his head. Loyd is added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list.
7:30 p.m., Jan. 17: Loyd is caught and arrested, according to Orlando police, ending a nine-day hunt for the wanted man.
9 a.m., Jan. 18: Mayan's bond is lowered to $400,000.
6:30 p.m., Jan. 18: Loyd is taken from Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was being treated for injuries sustained during his arrest, to the Orange County Jail.
9 a.m., Jan. 19: Loyd has his first court appearance on charges related to Dixon's death. He repeatedly curses at the judge, accuses the police of beating him up and insists that he will represent himself in court.
2:30 p.m., Jan. 19: The Orlando Police Department releases helicopter video of Loyd's arrest, which appears to show at least one officer kicking the suspect in the face. Mina holds a news conference that afternoon announcing that the department will be investigating the officer's use of force.
9 a.m., Jan. 20: Loyd has his first court appearance on charges related to Clayton's death. He asks the judge her name several times and denies that he is Markeith Loyd.
9 a.m., Jan. 25: Loyd has his first appearance on the resisting arrest charge. As in prior appearances, he cursed at the judge. "I'm here for what? Resisting arrest? And this is what happened to me? F*** you," he said. His bond is set at $500.
9 a.m., Jan. 26: A judge rules that Loyd is competent to represent himself, but no decision is made as to whether or not he actually will. He tells the judge that he's been prohibited from making any phone calls. He also claims police knocked his eye out.
2:30 p.m., Jan. 26: Smith-Loyd bonds out of jail. A judge lowered her bond to $10,000 the night before. She was previously being held on $750,000 bond.
7 p.m., Jan. 26: Mayan's attorney files a motion to have his client's bond lowered to $10,000 since Smith-Loyd has bonded out of jail.
9 a.m., Feb. 1: A judge denies a request to lower Mayan's bond. It remains at $400,000.
9:15 a.m., Feb. 7: A judge lowers Slaughter's bond from $500,000 to $20,000. She's ordered not to have contact with Loyd, Mayan or Smith-Loyd.
10 a.m., Feb. 7: The state attorney's office announces that formal charges will not be filed against against Smith-Loyd, who was accused of helping murder suspect Markeith Loyd avoid capture.
Afternoon, Feb. 7: The state attorney's office agrees to lower Mayan's bond to $20,000. He must stay in the state and not have contact with Slaughter, Smith Loyd or Loyd.
2:30 p.m., Feb. 8: Mayan posts bond and leaves the Orange County Jail.
4 p.m., Feb. 15: The State Attorney's Office announces that a grand jury has formally indicted Loyd on charges related to Dixon's and Clayton's death. A grand jury indictment is required on all first-degree murder cases, she said. It's still unclear if Loyd will face the death penalty.
10 a.m., Feb. 22: Loyd appears appears in court for an arraignment. He gave the judge a handwritten letter asking for a copy of the charges against him. The judge set a hearing for March 1 for Loyd to enter a plea.
10 a.m., March 1: A judge enters a not guilty plea on Loyd's behalf. Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten set a trial date of May 1 in the Dixon case and a date of June 19 in the Clayton case. His next court appearance will be 10 a.m. March 20 for a status hearing.
10 a.m., March 16: State attorney Aramis Ayala announced that her office would not pursue the death penalty while prosecuting Loyd. The move prompted Gov. Rick Scott to ask that Ayala recuse herself from the case.
4:30 p.m., March 16: Gov. Rick Scott issues an executive order removing Ayala from the case and reassigning it to Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brad King. "These families deserve a state attorney who will aggressively prosecute Markeith Loyd to the fullest extent of the law and justice must be served,” Scott said.
10 a.m., March 20: Loyd appears in court for a status hearing. Ayala came to the hearing and told the judge she intended to file motions so that she could stay on Loyd's case.
9 a.m., March 28: A judge rules that King will prosecute Loyd, despite Ayala's request to stay on the case. Loyd made a comment that Scott, "seeks revenge, not justice." Loyd objected to having a mental health evaluation.
10 a.m., April 3: Loyd said in court that he wants attorney Terence Lenamon to represent him in his murder cases. Lenamon, of Miami, is Florida’s highest-paid capital litigation lawyer. The judge scheduled a hearing for April 12 to see if he will allow Loyd to pick his own court-appointed counsel.
10 a.m., April 12: Judge does not appoint Lenamon to represent him in his murder cases. Loyd agrees to have standby counsel, Roger Weeden, represent him. Loyd also waives right to a speedy trial.
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