Defense presents its case in Markeith Loyd murder trial, Loyd to testify Saturday

Loyd accused of fatally shooting Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton

ORLANDO, Fla. – The defense on Friday began presenting its case 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 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]

Loyd is represented by lead attorney Terry Lenamon and attorney Ted Marrero.

The state’s lead attorney is Ryan Williams, who’s accompanied by attorney Rich Buxman.

In Friday’s testimonies, the defense called both Loyd’s brother and sister spoke to his history of mental illness and paranoia of police.

A former crime scene analysis expert also testified and broke down the Walmart shooting scene.

Loyd will take the stand in his own defense Saturday and will remain shackled for the safety of others.

Pat McKenna, a private detective who took drone video of Walmart that was shown to the jurors, was the first witness called by the defense. The state noted that the video was taken on Aug. 7, 2019, two-and-a-half years after Clayton was shot.

The defense called Anne Marie Cox, a private consultant who was a crime scene technician for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for nearly 13 years.

Cox told the jury that she is a crime scene analysis expert and her consulting business does its own chemical and blood splatter analysis.

Cox was asked about a bullet fragment found by detectives in the Walmart parking lot outside the “perimeter” of the shooting scene.

Defense: “Do you know if CSI responded to the detectives’ call?”

Cox: “They did not.”

Defense: “Was that appropriate?”

Cox: “I did not feel it was appropriate. Not only was it located on the same day, there was was confirmed a shooting happened that day.”

Jurors were shown photos Cox took at the scene, including pictures of a “strike mark” showing what could have been a bullet that hit the wall/windowsill that she said detectives did not take close-up photos of. The jury also looked at sketches Cox drew from line of sight to show how the strike mark on the window could have come from Loyd or Clayton during the shooting.

The diagrams were drawn up to show possibilities of where you can’t see Clayton in video. Cox said there was a way Clayton could have an “unobstructed line of sight” to the strike mark.

After lunch, the defense called a video expert who was hired by Loyd’s attorneys.

He led the jury through a video of the shooting.

While the video expert was testifying, Loyd was jotting down notes.

The expert then enhanced the audio of the radio transmission when Clayton called dispatch.

“’Sarge where exactly?”

“I’m looking for a Markeith. He’s walking out the door right now.”

The call then comes back on seconds later hearing about three gunshots and Clayton scream.

Court is now in recess, as of 4:25 p.m. Friday, until Saturday when Loyd will take the stand in his own defense.

“I was always going to testify,” Loyd said.

Loyd’s sister and brother both testified Friday. His brother played into the defense’s argument that Loyd had mental illness and paranoia of police, describing an encounter with him Dec. 2014, when he was worried police were going to kill him and he wanted to change his life insurance policy.

“He was irate, saying they were going to kill him. They are trying to kill them ...” his brother testified. “He said they were taping his phone, they had his phone tapped and other stuff.”

In cross-examination, the state told Loyd’s brother and sister to read off Facebook posts Loyd wrote in 2016, arguing they showed his hatred of cops.

“Any dead cop is a good thing ...” his post read.

Loyd will remain shackled during his testimony Saturday.

The state rested its case Thursday, three days after opening statements following the seating of the jury, which is comprised of nine men and three women.

Thursday’s proceedings started with the judge denying a motion for mistrial filed by the defense. Judge Leticia Marques then reminded jurors they cannot discuss the trial with each other.

The state called more witnesses, including crime scene and ballistics experts who testified about the bullets and casings found in the Walmart parking lot.

Clayton’s family, including her husband and son, have been 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, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.