Judge denies trial delay for accused double murderer Markeith Loyd

Loyd faces murder trials in deaths of Sade Dixon, Debra Clayton

By Mark Lehman - Reporter, Anna Johnson - Digital Journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - Attorneys for accused double murderer Markeith Loyd were denied their motion to further delay the trial at a hearing Tuesday morning.

According to court documents, about three dozen pending motions are scheduled to be addressed during the hearing, which began at 9:30 a.m. Chief Judge Frederick Lauten's first order of business was to deny to motion for a stay on the trial.

A motion that was approved, however, was Loyd's attorneys' motion to receive more documents relating to Lauten's involvement with the case. Loyd's attorneys said they wanted to review the documents in order to potentially file a motion for Lauten's recusal.

"I need you to back away from this case and provide me the information I’m requesting so we can raise -- in good faith -- a motion to recuse," Loyd's attorney, Terry Lenamon said to Lauten.

Loyd was originally scheduled to go to trial in September on charges in connection to the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.  That was to be followed by the murder trial in the shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton in January.

Last month, Loyd's first trial was rescheduled for May 2019, but a date was not set for his second trial.

Loyd's defense attorneys argued that Lauten may not be able to be impartial because before being assigned to the case, he had signed off on warrants during the search for Loyd.

The lawyers also raised concerns with the way Lauten was specifically assigned to the case. Typically, judges are assigned to cases in a rotation, rather than specifically named to oversee a case. Lauten said he spoke with the prosecution for the case and the determined he should preside over both of Loyd's trials because, as chief judge, he would be able to devote the necessary time to them.

The most recent motion, and the first that Lauten addressed after denying the stay, surrounds alleged wiretapping of phones by investigators. The motion states that Loyd's family received notice that their phones were subject to wiretaps, but neither Loyd nor his attorneys were notified. According to the motion, the application for wiretapping was signed by Lauten.

Loyd's attorneys asked him to delay proceedings to allow an investigation into potential judicial bias. While Lauten denied the motion to delay, he said he would address any motion for recusal if and when it is filed.

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