Markeith Loyd indicted on murder charges
Still unclear if Loyd will face death penalty
ORLANDO, Fla. – The State Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that a grand jury has indicted murder suspect Markeith Loyd on several charges related to the deaths of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.
Loyd is accused of killing Dixon in Pine Hills on Dec. 13. He fatally shot Clayton at an Orlando Walmart on Jan. 9 as she tried to apprehend him, authorities said.
A citywide manhunt was launched after Clayton's death. During the search, Orange County deputy Norman Lewis was struck and killed while on his motorcycle. No charges have been filed in his death.
Loyd was arrested at an abandoned home in the Carver Shores neighborhood on Jan. 17.
Charges were announced shortly after Loyd's arrest, but the indictment came Wednesday after a grand jury heard the cases, State Attorney Aramis Ayala said during a 4 p.m. news conference. A grand jury indictment is required in first-degree murder cases, she said.
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.
Ayala said at this point, it's still unclear if Loyd will face the death penalty. Until the Florida Legislature writes a new statute, all death penalty cases in the state are on hold. That ruling should not affect the timeline of Loyd's trial, she said.
With news of the indictment, Ayala also announced a new specialized domestic violence unit. Assistant State Attorney Michelle Latham, who is spearheading that unit, along with Assistant State Attorney Ryan Williams, will be handling the prosecution of charges related to Dixon's death.
"What my office has not and will not lose sight of, is these tragedies all stemmed from domestic violence, and I take domestic violence very seriously," Ayala said. "The statistics on domestic violence are beyond troubling. One in three women and one in four men have been victims of intimate partner violence."
Dixon moved back in with her family three days before her death, records show. She told her family that Loyd bit her so hard she had to get a tetanus shot.
Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra and Deputy Chief Assistant State Attorney Harold Bennett will be handling the prosecution of charges related to Clayton's death.
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