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Jury finds Markeith Loyd guilty in murder of ex-girlfriend

Loyd claims he shot pregnant ex-girlfriend in self-defense

After deliberating for half the day, a jury found Markeith Loyd guilty on all charges Wednesday in connection with the 2016 slaying of his pregnant, ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon.

The jury found Loyd, 44, guilty if first-degree murder for Dixon's death, killing of an unborn child and attempted first-degree murder for shooting Dixon's brother Ronald Stuart, who survived the December 2016 shooting.

Loyd faces the death penalty during the penalty phase of the trial. That phase begins Monday.

The jury will remain sequestered until after Loyd is sentenced.

Loyd will face a second trial next year in connection with the death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

Read more on the verdict and what's next here.

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EARLIER STORY:

The jury began deliberating Wednesday afternoon after state prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments.

During the proceedings, each side summed up the evidence that was presented during the trial, which began Friday, and explained why the jury should either convict or acquit Loyd.

Loyd is accused of fatally shooting his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, during an argument that occurred outside her family's home.

When court proceedings began Wednesday, the judge read through 75 pages of instructions for the jury to follow when choosing a verdict before each side was given 90 minutes to present closing arguments.

The jury begin deliberating at about 1 p.m.

Almost three hours into deliberations the jury submitted two questions for the state and defense teams.

Question 1: What does enumerated felony mean in simple terms?

The judge and the attorneys discussed and agreed to tell the jury that an enumerated felony means murder.

Question 2: What is the difference between attempted felony murder and attempted manslaughter count four?

Shortly after that question, the jury returned to the courtroom to tell the judge that they'd like to keep deliberating. They will eat dinner at 6 p.m. then return to the courtroom by 7:30 p.m. to let the judge whether they'd like to continue deliberation. 

A packed courtroom listened to the judge list all charges to the jury. Both Loyd's family and Dixon's family were present for Wednesday's proceedings. The families were sitting on either side of the courtroom. 

If convicted on a first-degree murder charge, Loyd could be sentenced to death.

Assistant State Attorney Rich Buxman began the closing arguments Wednesday, showing the jury a picture of Dixon when she was alive.

"She was a daughter, she was a sister, she was a mother of two and soon to be a mother of third ... before that man decided to drive to her house, get out of his car and start shooting," Buxman said.

Loyd sat in the courtroom, shaking his head with his arms crossed as the state took jurors through its closing arguments.

After a brief break, the jury was brought back into the courtroom to hear the defense present its closing arguments.

"For all the things we went through with the judge and the loss of several jurors, in a couple of hours it is your individual and collective decision that will affect this community and my client, Markeith Loyd," defense attorney Terry Lenamon said.

As the defense rested its case, Buxman began to address the jury for a final time before the jurors began deliberation.

"All of the death and all of the bloodshed -- we ask that you hold him accountable for his actions and his choices," Buxman said. "If you look at the evidence and you apply to the law, the evidence has proven this case beyond any reasonable doubt."

Around 12:45 p.m. the state presented its final rebuttal against the defense, the judge then read the last pages of her instructions for the jurors. 

At 12:54 p.m. the court deputies lead all but two jurors to the jury room to begin their deliberation.

The judge kept behind two female alternate jurors who would not be joining their fellow jurors in the jury room. The alternate jurors would be used if a verdict was not reached.

With an empty courtroom, Loyd was put under oath and the judge asked him if he was pleased with how his attorneys presented his case.

Loyd began reading from a piece of paper the issues he had with his lawyers, specifically during closing arguments.

Loyd's attorney admitted he misspoke during his closing arguments, saying that he referred to his client as guilty instead of not guilty. Other than that remark, Lenamon thought his closing arguments went well.

At 1:11 p.m. the judge closed the courtroom for an hour, unless the jury reached a verdict or had a question.

Law enforcement officers, technology experts and witnesses were among those called to testify. Loyd took the stand for about four hours on Monday, detailing his relationship with Dixon and a variety of other topics.

The defense rested its case Tuesday after cross-examination was completed.

Loyd will face a second trial next year in connection with the death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.


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.

Thomas Metevia

Tom Metevia is an Emmy Award-winning content creator. He joined the News 6 team in May 2019 after interning with News 6’s parent company Graham Media Group in Detroit, MI. He previously worked for: WDIV in Detroit, CBSi in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and WSMH in Flint, MI. Tom specializes in travel, entertainment and theme park news.

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