1st day of penalty phase for Markeith Loyd’s murder trial wraps

State, defense anticipate penalty phase will take several days

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Opening statements were presented Monday in the penalty phase of Markeith Loyd’s murder trial.

Jurors recently found Loyd guilty of murder in the shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

The jury will decide if Loyd faces life in prison without the opportunity of parole or the death penalty.

The proceedings began with Judge Leticia Marques reviewing victim impact statements that the state plans to introduce. Loyd’s defense team objected to some of the language in the statements.

The state also plans to show an Orlando Police Department remembrance video as an impact statement. The defense said it does not object to the photos in the video but does object to the text and the music.

The state started delivering opening statements about 40 minutes after the proceedings began.

In summary, the state reiterated that Loyd deserves the death penalty.

The defense then countered, saying life in prison would be the proper sentence.

Three weeks ago, the judge released the jury while the state and defense argued what could be brought up during the penalty phase. Marques shared a warning to jurors before letting them go.

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“Remember how serious this matter is when you get tempted to talk about it because it is going to weigh on your minds and you need to be realistic about that. You just can’t talk about it,” Marques said.

Loyd found guilty of murder in Debra Clayton’s death; trial resumes Nov. 29

Since then, prosecutors and the defense held their last hearing before the penalty phase. Both sides argued about how much of the officers’ use of force and how Loyd lost his eye will be brought up to the jury.

“The use of force has to do with the result of the injury to his eye and basically his suffering as a result of his action. It’s like they partially punished him already. They did this intentionally,” defense attorney Terry Lenamon said.

The state filed several motions wanting to question the jurors further on their thoughts on the use of force.

“We would have asked, I can tell you hand to God, what they think of the use of force,” prosecutor Ryan Williams said.

The judge denied the motion. She also said the defense can’t talk about Loyd’s dropped charges or that he was arrested using Clayton’s handcuffs.

Lawyers anticipate the penalty phase will take several days with dozens of witnesses from both sides expected to be called.

The jury is allowed to go home after court ends each day, but they could have to be sequestered again if deliberations take longer than a day.

It will take a unanimous decision from the jury to determine whether Loyd gets the death penalty.

Watch below: News 6 legal analyst breaks down penalty phase of Loyd trial


About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!