Jury selection underway in Markeith Loyd murder trial

It could be 2-3 weeks before jury is seated

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.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.