Testimony in Markeith Loyd murder trial focuses on manhunt, bulletproof vest

Loyd accused of killing Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton

ORLANDO, Fla. – Testimony continues Wednesday in the murder trial for convicted killer Markeith Loyd, who’s accused of shooting and killing Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton in 2017.

Loyd stands accused of fatally shooting Clayton outside a Walmart in 2017 while he was on the run for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December 2016. Loyd is currently serving life in prison sentence without parole for the murder of Dixon.

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Opening statements began Monday, shortly after a panel of 12 jurors — nine men and three women — were sworn in.

Wednesday’s testimonies began with the eight-day manhunt for Loyd after he allegedly carjacked a man’s vehicle to escape the scene of Clayton’s shooting before covering the evidence collected by law enforcement officials after he was found and captured.

The state also discussed the day Clayton was killed, showing the jurors her gun and pictures of Clayton’s injuries caused by the fatal shooting.

A medical examiner testified Clayton was shot four times, in the leg, abdomen, hip and the neck, submitting pictures of Clayton’s body after the shooting and the bullets for evidence.

He told the jury was the shot to her neck that shattered her Adam’s apple, and traveled through her chest breaking three ribs and filling her lungs with blood, believing she could have survived if not for that fatal shot.

CSI and FDLE investigators later discussed different pieces of evidence found the night of Loyd’s capture, such as his clothing items, which included a bulletproof vest, two guns, ammunition clips and 36 bullets. A DNA official matched the samples collected on clothing items to Loyd.

At one point during the testimonies Wednesday, the jury was dismissed after the defense objected that a detective on the witness stand brought up the death of a deputy that was determined to be unrelated to the line of questioning.

Court proceedings will continue 9 a.m. Thursday.

On Wednesday, Orlando police CSI Stacy Munroe was the first to take the stand, helping the state admit into evidence photos, including images of a scene where Loyd was accused of carjacking a man after allegedly shooting Clayton.

Orlando police Detective Pete Cadiz then testified that the trail for Loyd went “cold” after the carjacking.

An eight-day manhunt for Loyd ensued.

[TIMELINE: How hunt, capture of Markeith Loyd unfolded]

Loyd’s attorney Terry Lenamon cross-examined Cadiz, asking if Clayton fired at Loyd first.

Cadiz said he looked around Walmart based on the surveillance video and didn’t see any proof that that was the case.

The defense pressed him on the issue and Cadiz was later excused from the stand.

Later, Orlando police CSI Gary Crosby was called to the stand to discuss clothing found in the search for Loyd. Following Crosby, OPD K-9 Officer Paul Foster testified.

The state then shifted to Jan. 17, 2017, the night Loyd was captured.

The first witness to discuss the night of capture was an Orange County sheriff’s deputy who was severing on the U.S. Marshals special team.

“It was dark. I saw the house that we were told was potentially the target residence and it was dark,” he said, adding that Loyd threw out several items from front door of the house, including two guns.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Cleveland Jenkins, who took Loyd into custody, was then called to the stand and said it was odd that Loyd was wearing a bulletproof vest.

The state attempted to submit photos of the vest into evidence, but the defense objected.

The judge ruled that two photos of the vest Loyd was wearing could be admitted into evidence.

The judge then called for an early lunch, saying the state’s next witness, the medical examiner, would provide lengthy testimony into the afternoon.

After lunch, Orange County Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany testified, saying he’s performed over 5,000 autopsies in his career.

Stephany said Clayton suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

“A total of four. I can go into more details, but there was blunt force trauma abrasions to her face and knees,” he said.

Jurors were shown photos of bullets that were removed from Clayton’s body.

On cross-examination, Lenamon asked Stephany which of the four gunshot wounds would make Clayton unconscious.

“The one that went through her neck and left back would be the most severe,” he said. “The one on her right buttock and left abdomen could also cause to lose consciousness, but not right away.”

The state then asked Stephany if Clayton could have survived any of the gunshots, except the fatal one in the neck.

“I believe it’s possible she could have survived if she made it to the hospital on time,” Stephany said.

The next witness called by the state was Karen Livengood, the now-retired lead CSI investigator in Claytons’ case.

During her testimony, the state showed the jury Clayton’s gun as evidence to help match the photos of the crime scene where she was shot.

Detective Shane Overfield, who has worked with Orlando Police Department for 15 years, was next on the stand. He testified he found another shell casing in the Walmart parking lot.

Overfield asked the judge to contact CSI and call Livengood, who was busy, to provide further context because there were “multiple incidents that stemmed from this ... there were two officers that were deceased.”

The defense objected as they had previously argued these other deaths cannot be brought up to jurors. The jury was sent back.

The jury came back to listen to a CSI investigator testifying that he recovered a bulletproof vest, two guns, ammunition clips and 36 bullets the night Loyd was captured.

The last witness of day two’s court proceedings is Shawn Johnson, an employee in Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s biology and DNA analysis department.

Johnson also said there was only singular DNA found and collected on a skull cap and he matched it to Loyd.

Testimonies will start again 9 a.m. Thursday.

You can watch the full live court proceedings from Wednesday below:

On Tuesday, Walmart employees recounted the shooting, including a witness who said she saw Loyd stand over Clayton and fire a shot.

Clayton’s family, including her husband and son, were in court for the proceedings.

You can watch the murder trial live in the video player at the top of this story and follow coverage from News 6 reporter Nadeen Yanes below.

About the Authors:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on ClickOrlando.com, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.