Markeith Loyd murder trial expected to go to jury Tuesday

‘I didn’t mean to kill your wife,’ Markeith Loyd says to Debra Clayton’s widower

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.”

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.”

The jury instructions were 66 pages long.

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.

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.

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.