Trial date set for convicted killer Markeith Loyd in death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton

Loyd already convicted of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in 2016

A new trial date has been set for convicted killer Markeith Loyd in the case involving the shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.
A new trial date has been set for convicted killer Markeith Loyd in the case involving the shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A new trial date has been set for convicted killer Markeith Loyd in the case involving the shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

Loyd was in a courtroom Monday for the hearing.

Judge Leticia Marques addressed 16 items during the hearing and ultimately set a date of Oct. 8 — nearly two years since the start of his first trial — for jury selection to begin.

The judge said she believed the trial would last “four to six weeks, most of which will be jury selection.”

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Marques explained that jury selection would be handled similarly to Loyd’s first trial for the murder of Sade Dixon — where a large pool of potential jurors was brought in, broken into smaller panels and questioned about their ability to serve.

The judge said she is hoping that most COVID-19 protocols and procedures have been rolled back by the time jury selection begins.

“Right now we couldn’t possibly try this case under the current procedure. I wouldn’t even attempt to try this case under the current procedures,” Marques said. “Right, I’m actually trying to get to a point where it looks much more like what it looked like before COVID to try this case.”

Several motions were on the docket including jury selection and instruction for when the trial eventually begins. The motions also included discussions about use of force during Loyd’s arrest and video recorded before his interrogation.

The state sought to block discussion of the use of force during the guilt phase of the trial. The judge granted that motion.

“I can’t figure out how that connects (whether) Mr. Loyd is guilty or not guilty of murder in the shooting of Deborah Clayton,” Marques said.

“My client believes that police were trying to kill him he believes he was set up by these folks because they wanted to kill him,” Loyd’s lawyer argued.

Loyd then addressed the court himself.

“Show me they aren’t trying to kill me,” he said. “In my mind, they are trying to kill me.”

The judge ended up reserving her decision on whether the use of force could be introduced during the penalty phase if Loyd is found guilty.

Last year, a decision was made to delay the start of the trial due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, Marques said COVID-19 caused “hundreds of cases” to be backed up and jurors would be asked to wear clear masks when trials resume.

Loyd was convicted of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Dixon, during a shooting outside her home in December 2016.

Authorities said Loyd was wanted in connection to Dixon’s death and Clayton was trying to approach him at a Walmart on John Young Parkway when he shot her multiple times and then fled, sparking a massive manhunt.

If convicted of killing Clayton, Loyd could face the death penalty.


About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.