Judge hears motions after state rests case in Markeith Loyd murder trial

Defense to start presenting case on Friday

ORLANDO, Fla. – The state rested its case Thursday in the murder trial of 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 after 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.

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

Thursday started with the judge discussing a motion for mistrial filed by the defense and later denied, as well as reminding jurors they cannot discuss the trial outside the courtroom.

Crime scene and ballistics experts then testified to the bullets and casings found in the Walmart parking lot.

The state rested its case and jurors were dismissed for the day.

The court then discussed jury instructions and additional motions and the judge listened to testimonies regarding Loyd’s previous charge and trial after he attacked a correctional officer in February 2007.

Thursday’s proceedings began with a motion for mistrial, filed by the defense, who argued that a witness alluded to the death of Orange County Deputy Norm Lewis, who was killed in a crash while responding to the Clayton shooting scene.

The judge ruled against the defense, saying the mention was brief, adding she wasn’t sure the jury “caught it.”

“I don’t think any harm was done,” the judge said.

The judge then discussed with the state and defense the fact that four jurors, all men, were overheard discussing the case with each other.

The jurors involved in the conversation, which was overheard Wednesday night by a deputy in the jury lounge, were questioned by the judge about the conversation. One juror said they were watching a basketball game on TV and had a brief conversation. He classified the comments, which centered on their observations of the judge appearing to be frustrated and defense attorney Terry Lenamon’s use of the microphone, as a “general conversation” and didn’t think it was a big deal.

The judge then called in the entire jury and reminded them they cannot discuss anything about the trial.

“It’s come to my attention that a couple things are going on that I think are a result of me not giving you enough information,” the judge said.

Karen Livengood, the Orlando Police Department crime scene technician, was back on the stand Thursday discussing the 9 mm and 40-caliber casings found at the Walmart scene, in addition to other projectiles.

Richard Ruth, who currently works for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but previously worked for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a crime laboratory analyst in the firearms section, also took the stand to talk about the bullets and guns collected.

Ruth said a single bullet was found damaged at the scene, but he couldn’t identify which gun it came from.

The court heard a virtual testimony from Earl Stokes, a correctional officer at a federal petitionary in California. Stokes’ testimony detailed Loyd attacking another correctional officer in February 2007.

They then heard from the California public defender, Eric Kersten, who represented Loyd when he was charged with this previous assault and eventually pleaded to a lesser charge of inciting a mutiny. Kersten said he believed Loyd did not intend to injure the officer.

Kersten added that he remembers the video showing Loyd grabbing a correctional officer by the shirt and shoulder area, and when the officer was on the ground, grabbing his feet and spinning him around.

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

On Wednesday, testimony centered on the eight-day manhunt for Loyd after he allegedly carjacked a man’s vehicle to escape the scene of Clayton’s shooting. The state then detailed the evidence collected by law enforcement officials after Loyd was found and captured.

The state also discussed the day Clayton was killed, showing the jurors her gun and pictures of Clayton’s wounds.

A medical examiner testified that Clayton was shot four times, in the leg, abdomen, hip and the neck. The state submitted into evidence pictures of Clayton’s body and bullets.

CSI and FDLE investigators later discussed different pieces of evidence found the night of Loyd’s capture, such as 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, the state said.

At one point Wednesday, the jury was dismissed when the defense objected that a detective on the witness stand brought up the death of Lewis. The judge previously ruled that the death of Lewis could not be brought up at trial, and the detective was told to only provide direct answers.

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 Amanda Castro 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.