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'I think I exhaled for the first time:' Sade Dixon's mom reacts after Markeith Loyd sentence

Stephanie Dixon-Daniels is ready to move on after Loyd gets life in prison

Stephanie Dixon-Daniels looks at the bullet holes in her front door hours after her daughter's killer, Markeith Loyd, was sentenced to life in prison.
Stephanie Dixon-Daniels looks at the bullet holes in her front door hours after her daughter's killer, Markeith Loyd, was sentenced to life in prison.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Standing in her front yard, Stephanie Dixon-Daniels glances over at the bullet holes still in her front door, where they have been since her daughter Sade Dixon was murdered nearly three years ago.

Hours after a jury sentenced Dixon's convicted murderer, Markeith Loyd, to life in prison, Dixon-Daniels said she's ready to cover them up. 

"Now this case is closed, we can cover them up and continue on - maybe paint the house a different color," Dixon-Daniels told News 6 on Wednesday afternoon. 

The mother said she is relieved after hearing testimony for more than two weeks in both the murder trial and the penalty phase of Loyd's trial. 

Loyd was sentenced to five consecutive life terms in prison Wednesday for the murders of his ex-girlfriend, Dixon, and her unborn child in December 2016. He's also accused of gunning down Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton in January 2017 while he was on the run from police.

[READ: How the hunt and capture of Markeith Loyd unfolded'He was aiming for my heart': Victim's brother testifies in Markeith Loyd murder trial]

"I think I exhaled for the first time," Dixon-Daniels said her reaction was when the verdict was read Wednesday. "The jury did what they had to do and to kill somebody by paper is a hard decision, so I commend them for their verdict."

However, Dixon-Daniels said she wanted the death penalty. 

"I felt as though if it was me, my daughter would have done the same thing," she said.

The mother said to help with her emotions in court, she kept a journal in which she wrote her thoughts and feelings as she relived the night her daughter was killed, her son was shot and Loyd fired shots at her. 

"I think that journal helped me, it really did. It got my emotions out, it got my anger out," Dixon-Daniels said. 

She said one of the hardest part was hearing what she called Loyd's lies on the stand. 

"It was a tough day, but once again, I shook it off because that wasn't my daughter. You can't paint her as whatever you feel like to make yourself look good, but that wasn't my daughter," she said. "Anything he did was never his fault, really? So it wasn't your fault you came to my house with two guns?"

However, Dixon-Daniels is ready to move on, though she said it isn't over. She plans on going to court for Loyd's second trial in connection with Clayton's death next year. She said Clayton's husband supported her by coming to opening statements. 

"He didn't stay long because it was the first time seeing (Loyd), so yes, he is going to need that support," Dixon-Daniels said. "I'll be there to support Clayton just like he was there to support us." 

Loyd's defense attorney, Terry Lenamon, told News 6 on Wednesday that trial right now looks to be on track for May 2020


About the Author:

Nadeen Yanes joined News 6 as a general assignment reporter in 2016. She grew up in Leesburg and graduated from the University of Florida. Nadeen has won three Associated Press Awards for her reporting on the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the trial of the Pulse gunman's wife and the capture of an accused cop killer, Markeith Loyd.