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Judge denies request to combine Markeith Loyd murder trials

Accused killer recently completed mental evaluation

ORLANDO, Fla. – The man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer  was found competent Friday to stand trial and a motion to combine the murder trials was denied.

The competency hearing comes more than a week after Markeith Loyd's last court date, during which he spoke nonstop for about 20 minutes while repeatedly claiming he was innocent and that he had tried to turn himself in before the end of the nine-day manhunt on Jan. 17, 2017.

A judge granted Loyd's attorneys' request for the mental health evaluation, ordering that it be completed before the court rules on other motions, such as whether to combine the trials related to the deaths of Sade Dixon and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

Loyd's attorneys claim he's exhibiting signs of paranoia and delusional thinking.

Originally, Dr. Sandra Davis was slated to complete the evaluation, but it was reassigned to Dr. Sonia Ruiz for an unknown reason.

Judge Leticia Marques said Friday that based on the doctor's evaluation of Loyd he is competent to stand trial on both murder charges.

Ruiz's evaluation, which will not be made publicly available, will include her observations, findings, methods and opinion on whether Loyd has the rational understanding to consult with his attorneys. She must consider his ability to appreciate the charges against him and the legal penalties he faces and understand the legal process, among other things.

Following the competency results Marques addressed several motions filed by Loyd's attorneys, one of which requests that the separate murder trials be combined into one trial.

Marques denied the motion to combine the trials and set a pre-trial hearing for Sept. 3. The judge has asked for a full witness list.

"There’s just too much chance of a jury confusion in trying these together," Marques said.

Loyd said he agrees that his trials should be separate, saying ​"the second case has nothing to do with the first case."
 
His defense attorneys said that jurors should know the whole story. ​​​​​​

"There is no way our defense won’t open the door to everything that happened," said Loyd's attorney, Terry Lenamon. "It’s going to come out judge that he shot a police officer." 

Last week, Dixon’s parents spoke exclusively with News 6 reporter Jerry Askin. They told him their daughter, like Clayton, deserves her own trial and justice. 


About the Authors:

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.

Emilee Speck

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Previously, Emilee was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a producer at the Naples Daily News. Emilee is a Space Coast native and graduate of the University of North Florida journalism program.

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