ORLANDO, Fla. – After years of delays, the start of jury selection took place for Markeith Loyd’s second murder trial on Friday.
Loyd is accused of shooting and killing Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton outside a Walmart in 2017 while he was on the run for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, in December 2016.
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After an intense manhunt, he was eventually captured and years later convicted in the killing of his ex-girlfriend outside of her home. He’s currently serving a life sentence but faces the death penalty in Clayton’s death.
Loyd’s lawyer argued earlier this week he would not get a fair trial and requested a change of venue. The attorney called for another delay, arguing the jury pool would be limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The judge rejected those motions and said it’s been long enough.
When the trial date was set earlier this year, the judge said she believed the trial would last “four to six weeks, most of which will be jury selection.”
Judge Leticia 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.
Jury selection started at 9 a.m. on Friday, but it could be two to three weeks before a jury is seated.
The judge started with a pool of 300 potential jurors. Potential judges were asked to wear clear masks on Friday, this will help the judge see the faces of the jurors during questioning.
Sixty-four potential jurors have already been excused from the process. The judge told any juror returning on Monday to not look up anything from the case and to not talk about the case.
LOYD TRIAL: Two years ago exactly, #MarkeithLoyd was in his first trial for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon. He was found GUILTY in that murder. You can read more from the trial in October of 2019. @news6wkmg https://t.co/2YFOQZnxgh https://t.co/wkoqIFUwIk— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 8, 2021
JURY SELECTION: Here's what we know:— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 8, 2021
- Because of the high-profile case, jurors will be sequestered
- Judge is questioning 60 at a time. Will do so 3x today. So 180 potential jurors today. Need a large pool of people.
- Once jury seated, trial will take 2-3 weeks@news6wkmg https://t.co/wkoqIFUwIk
LOYD TRIAL: Update:— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 8, 2021
GROUP 1: Already 26 out of the first 60 have been excused in the #MarkeithLoyd trial - due to basic conflicting issues with work, childcare or medical.
The other 34 will be returning Monday for individual questioning in this case. @news6wkmg https://t.co/QJdmHnw8F9
LOYD TRIAL: To the 34 jurors returning for more questioning on Monday, Judge had this stern message:— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 8, 2021
"We are monitoring social accounts. You aren’t allowed to talk to anyone in this case...if I find out you, will be in trouble because this could cause a mistrial." @news6wkmg https://t.co/ajWoml0wX4