Markeith Loyd arraigned on murder charges; plea expected next week

Loyd asked for copy of charges against him before he makes plea

ORLANDO, Fla. – Markeith Loyd, who is accused of gunning down his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer, was arraigned Wednesday on murder charges, but he will not have to enter a plea until he receives a copy of the indictment against him.

It was Loyd's fifth court appearance since he was arrested on Jan. 17, nine days after Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton was fatally shot and more than a month after Sade Dixon was killed outside her Pine Hills home on Dec. 13.

Loyd, who claims that he was beaten by officers as he surrendered after a nine-day manhunt, wore a black patch over his left eye. Loyd previously said in court that he lost his eye, but that has not been confirmed by officials.

Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten read all the charges the state has filed against Loyd, three of which are capital offenses that carry a maximum sentence of death.

Loyd carried a handwritten letter into court to the judge, and it was later read by Lauten and the prosecutors.

In the letter, Loyd asked to be provided a copy of the complaint or charging document. Loyd wrote that because he was not given sufficient notice of the charges against him he would not be able to make a plea.

[Read the letter below]

Lauten said he would oblige the request and expected Loyd to enter a plea March 1 during his next court hearing in the case.

Lauten also tried to determine whether Loyd plans to represent himself, prompting Loyd to ask, "Are you done? I don't want to talk to you."

Lauten reminded Loyd of the seriousness of the charges against him and urged him to strongly consider hiring an attorney or having one appointed to him. 

“You’re losing valuable time to prepare for your case, which could result in death,” Lauten said.

Timeline: How the manhunt and capture of Markeith Loyd unfolded

In relation to Dixon's death, Loyd is charged with first-degree murder with a firearm, killing of an unborn child by injury to the mother, attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, two counts of attempted felony murder with a firearm and possession of a firearm by convicted felon, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Loyd is also facing charges of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm, attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with Clayton's death.

No charges have been filed against Loyd in connection with Orange County Deputy Norman Lewis, who was fatally struck while he was on his motorcycle assisting in the search for Loyd after Clayton's death.

A judge ruled on Jan. 26 that Loyd was competent to waive his right to counsel.

Loyd's previous court appearances have been laced with profanity and outbursts. An unedited video from Loyd's first appearance on Jan. 19 is embedded to the right.

"One of the things the court is going to have to wrestle with is how to manage a guy that when he's in court is completely out of control," News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer said. "If there's a trial, the court is not going to let this guy mouth off and curse and be a disruption. The judge has got his job cut out for him to try and control Markeith Loyd and keep decorum in the courtroom."


About the Authors: