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Penalty phase continues for convicted murderer Markeith Loyd

Loyd faces death penalty for murdering Sade Dixon

Markeith Loyd.
Markeith Loyd.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The penalty phase in the murder trial of Markeith Loyd is expected to be in the jury's hands by Wednesday afternoon.

The proceeding is taking place days after Loyd was found guilty of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and their unborn child in 2016. 

Loyd faces the death penalty, but his defense is hoping jurors will agree to give him life in prison.

Loyd will also face the death penalty if he's found guilty next year in the shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debora Clayton.

The state and defense will present closing statements Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. before the jury receives instructions and goes into deliberation.

On Monday, the state told the jury about Loyd's previous criminal history, calling former Orlando police Officer Todd Herb to the stand. Loyd was accused of battery on the officer in 1998 following a traffic stop.

"He punched me in the face ... He started hitting and punching me," Herb told the jury.

Loyd's defense attorney, Terry Lenamon, told the jury their decision was not based on Loyd's guilt, but whether they believed a human should die for the crime.

"This is not an excuse for the murders, your verdict was just based on your belief system," Lenamon told the jury. "This is about whether you are going to sanction the killing of a human being without considering all the facts now that you have."

The defense began by telling the jury about Loyd's traumatic upbringing, including seeing a friend and cousin murdered, as well as the life choices he made.

"There were two routes -- you either robbed or you deal drugs and he didn't want to rob so he dealt drugs," Lenamon said of Loyd growing up in Pine Hills and Carver Shores neighborhoods.

The defense also called on three doctors to testify Tuesday. Each of the doctors said Loyd suffers from several mental illnesses, including paranoia, post-traumatic stress disorder, hyper-vigilance and delusional disorder.

"His big thing is delusions of persecution -- essentially that individuals are trying to hurt him or harm him for no objective reason," a neuropsychologist said.

The doctor said whenever Loyd is in an environment that enforces his delusions, it should be expected that he's going to act upon them.

A clinical psychologist who testified Tuesday said Loyd's conditions cause him to constantly be on guard and have led to a lot of trauma and paranoia in his life.

Since Loyd was deemed competent to stand trial, none of the mental conditions listed could work as a legal defense during the guilt portion of the trial. However, the defense says the jury could take them into consideration when deciding whether to sentence Loyd to life in prison or death.

Loyd's mother, Patricia Loyd, was also called to testify on his behalf. She told the jury she would continue to love him no matter what and continue to visit him in prison if they choose to sentence him to life in prison.

"He was always in fear of his life and being incarcerated at an early age," Patricia Loyd said.

Loyd's daughter, Kianna Loyd, spoke highly of her father, calling Loyd "the greatest thing ever."

"He's very important to me," Kianna Loyd said. "We don't have a lot of men in our family on either side, either my mom's side or my dad's side. Just how much of an impact he is, it's amazing." 

Loyd's cousin also spoke, saying Loyd was her favorite cousin. She said Loyd changed after being kidnapped and beaten as a teenager.

"After that happened, he was more paranoid and not trusting people," his cousin said. "He always had, like, bad headaches afterwards."

Loyd's siblings, three sisters and a brother, also asked the jury to consider giving him life in prison.

Watch News 6 for live coverage of the trial.


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