ORLANDO, Fla. – The defense rested its case Monday in the murder trial of Markeith Loyd, who’s accused of murder in the shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.
Loyd is accused of fatally shooting Clayton while on the run after killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December 2016. He is currently serving life in prison without parole for the murder of Dixon.
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At one point Monday morning while the defense was questioning witnesses, Loyd looked at Clayton’s widower, who’s been attending the proceedings, and said, “I told you I didn’t mean to kill your wife, bro.”
Loyd then cried as he sat in the courtroom.
The judge later reminded Loyd that he should not address anyone in attendance at the trial.
Judge Marques also said the jury will be handed the case Tuesday.
“Tomorrow there will be jury instructions, closing arguments and we will hand the case to the jury,” said the judge. “You will get the case the tomorrow.”
LOYD TRIAL: BREAKING- For some reason Mr. Loyd just looked at Lt Clayton husband and said “I told you I didn’t mean to kill your wife bro” and broke down in tears @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/aut2cuySwt— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
LOYD TRIAL: Markeith Loyd returns from the break. Still clearly teary-eyed as the judge reminds him not to address the audience during testimony @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/2WXUDbgxwe— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
Before resting, the defense called a ballistics expert to the stand, with attorneys trying to make the point that Clayton shot first at Loyd, who then returned fire in self-defense.
LOYD TRIAL: Today, defense is continuing their argument. Right now a ballistics expert is on the stand testifying again about the bullet defense claims was Lt Clayton firing first. Goes to Loyd’s argument that he shot in self-defense @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/y68wregGrb— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
Defense witness Christopher Robinson then took the stand and shared the difference in bulletproof vests worn by Clayton and Loyd.
“Its only protection is the plate. If it hits beside the plate, the bullets are going to go through like any other surface,” he said.
LOYD TRIAL: Robinson is talking about how Lt. Clayton's vest had a steel plate, Loyd's did not:— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
"It’s only protection is the plate – if it hits side the plate the bullets are going to go through like any other surface." @news6wkmg https://t.co/pQHQAgHBqE
Loyd looked at Clayton’s husband and said, “I told you I didn’t mean to kill your wife bro” as a defense expert was talking how a bullet had hit Clayton, came out of her body, then came back into her body.
LOYD TRIAL: According to our News 6 photographer in the courtroom, a member of Lt. Clayton's family/friends bolted out of the courtroom after Markeith Loyd addressed them in tears. Her husband Seth also walked out but no emotion, just a stone cold look on his face. @news6wkmg https://t.co/UF6B6ERV3l— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
Clayton’s husband left the courtroom and the judge reminded Loyd not to address the audience directly.
The state will next present its rebuttal case.
They called Sade Dixon’s brother, Ronald Stuart, to the stand.
Previously, the Sade Dixon case, for which Loyd is serving five life sentences, was not allowed to come up during this trial per the defense’s request.
Loyd, however, brought it up on the stand Saturday, allowing the state to discuss Dixon’s murder in court proceedings.
Stuart previously testified in his sister’s case in 2019.
LOYD TRIAL: Ronald Stuart, Sade Dixon's brother:— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
"He was shooing my sister and he stopped and then came towards me and pointed at me. It seemed like he was pointing at my heart and I tried to rotate my body to my left so he didn't hit it." @news6wkmg https://t.co/wQGMXbP1XO
The state called another witness in their continuing rebuttal.
They asked Michael Gamache, a forensic scientist, if he agreed with Dr. Jethro Toomer’s testimony Saturday that Loyd was insane when he shot Clayton.
“Um, no I don’t,” Gamache replied.
LOYD TRIAL: This forensic psychologist on the stand for the state is going to review and test the hypothesis of Dr. Toomer's testimony from Saturday who on Loyd's defense testified Loyd had bi-polar disorder PTSD and more @news6wkmg https://t.co/HX3yViHkru— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
Gamache then explained the legal definition of insanity to jurors with a flow chart.
“My opinion would be no he does not meet the legal criteria (for insanity),” he said.
Another forensic psychiatrist, Michael Maher from the Sade Dixon case, took the stand as the state’s next rebuttal witness.
LOYD TRIAL: There was a miscommunication between Maher and the state. He thought he was brought here to talk about Loyd's competence at Dixon murder - not prepared to talk about mental state for Lt. Clayton murder @news6wkmg https://t.co/ig9aVspHnx— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
The state called Dr. Tonia Werner, of Meridian Behavioral Health Care, to the stand. She was the psychiatrist who interviewed Loyd on Sept. 27 of this year.
“I diagnosed Mr. Loyd with anti-social personality disorder and cannabis use disorder,” Werner said.
LOYD TRIAL: Though she diagnosed Loyd with "anti-social personality disorder" Dr. Werner testified said it doesn't pass first stage of insanity defense. "The first prong of insanity defense actually specifically excludes anti-social personality disorder." @news6wkmg https://t.co/wjslnKmCSB— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
“My opinion is that he was sane at the time of the crime,” Werner said.
The witnesses wrapped up for the day.
According to Judge Marques, “Tomorrow there will be jury instructions, closing arguments and we will hand the case to the jury....You will get the case the tomorrow.”
LOYD TRIAL: Jury has been excused, but attorneys will be staying in court late to now go over jury instructions. This is also standard to go over language re: "heat of passion, self-defense, insanity" making sure jurors know exactly what they need to deliberate. @news6wkmg https://t.co/943VLiMQMf— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
The jury instructions were 66 pages long.
LOYD TRIAL: In a standard move, Loyd’s attorney filed a motion for acquittal saying state didn’t reach burden of proof of pre-meditation. But state says that’s for the jury to decide. Judge rules motion for judgment for acquittal is denied @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/aW0eTIFid1— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) November 1, 2021
Over the weekend, Loyd took the stand, saying he shot Clayton in self-defense.
The defense began Saturday’s proceedings by going over Loyd’s childhood and growing up without a father. Loyd said he began selling drugs when he was 16 years old.
Lead attorney Terry Lenamon, who represents Loyd, asked Loyd if he believes he is crazy or mentally ill to which Loyd responded, “No.”
Lead prosecutor Ryan Williams cross-examined Loyd, asking if he was aware that his defense team hired an expert to testify that he has a mental illness.
[TIMELINE: How hunt, capture of Markeith Loyd unfolded]
Jurors also heard from a mental health expert who said he believes Loyd knew what he was doing but didn’t think it was wrong.
Clayton’s family, including her son, and Loyd’s family have been in court for the proceedings.
Live video of the murder trial and coverage from News 6 reporter Nadeen Yanes are linked below.