Central Florida law enforcement, leaders, family react to Markeith Loyd’s guilty verdict

Penalty phase of trial begins Saturday

Markeith Loyd murder trial expected to go to jury Tuesday

ORLANDO, Fla – Convicted killer Markeith Loyd was hit with another guilty verdict Wednesday, this time for the death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton in 2017.

His trial now heads into its penalty phase where the jury will decide whether Loyd faces the death penalty or a second life sentence. The penalty phase is set to begin on Saturday. Loyd is already serving life behind bars for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.

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In all, Loyd was convicted on five charges — first-degree murder on a law enforcement officer, attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault with a firearm, carjacking with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Following the conviction, Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was Orlando’s police chief at the time of Clayton’s death, spoke to the media.

“This is a death penalty case,” Mina said. “The death penalty, in this case, is warranted and it’s not warranted in all first-degree murder cases but (for) the murder and execution of a law enforcement officer in our community (the death penalty) is definitely warranted.”

“The message we have for him is justice is served and more justice is coming and we don’t feel sorry for him,” Mina added. “We don’t care about his lame excuses. He is a murderer.”

Current Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon also spoke.

“I couldn’t agree more with the sheriff,” Rolon said. “So many lives were affected by the actions of Loyd and justice has been served today. We hope the penalty phase will include what he deserves, which is — in our opinion — the death penalty.”

Clayton’s sisters also spoke following the verdict. They were pleased with the jury’s decision.

“It’s definitely been a rollercoaster. I love my sister and she didn’t deserve to die like that,” Ashley Thomas said. “I feel like this is what she wanted us to do — to be strong that’s the type of person she was... She didn’t want us to hate anyone but in this case, it’s hard. We lost a dear person.”

“There is no message for him (Loyd). The jury has spoken,” Anita Young said. “We just want to keep (Clayton’s) memory alive and continue to see others lead by example and doing the things she was able to put forth for us to remember her by.”

Shortly after the verdict was read, the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s office released statements about the conviction on Twitter.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was Orlando’s police chief at the time of Clayton’s death, made his own statement on Twitter following the conviction.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also released a statement on Twitter.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.