State rests case in penalty phase of Markeith Loyd murder trial

Loyd found guilty of killing Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton

ORLANDO, Fla. – More testimony was presented Tuesday in the penalty phase of Markeith Loyd’s second murder trial.

Loyd, already serving a life sentence for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Sade Dixon, could face the death penalty after a jury found him guilty of murder in the shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

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Tuesday’s proceedings began with the state calling a probation officer who supervised Loyd while he was under supervision for felony offenses.

A cousin of Clayton was then called to the stand, and jurors could be seen wiping tears away as she read her impact statement.

In part, Clayton’s cousin said she and Clayton were “kindred spirits” and that the day her cousin was killed, she “died that day, too.”

The state rested its case at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The defense has moved for a judgment of acquittal. The first witnesses for the defense Tuesday afternoon was an Orange County detective who worked the Dixon murder case.

The detective’s testimony was about the gun that killed Dixon, saying the weapon used to shoot the victim was not her own gun.

On Monday, the jury heard emotional testimony from Dixon’s mother, who recounted the day her daughter and son, who survived, were shot.

“The first thing I saw was my daughter laying on one side of the door and my son laying in the rocks -- it’s like a flower bed but it’s rocks around the foundation,” she said. “He was laying in the front of that, and all I was screaming was, ‘My babies, my babies, my babies.’”

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill also took the stand, discussing Clayton’s impact on the community.

“It’s surreal that’s such a beautiful, compassionate angel such as Lt. Debra Clayton is, as the police say, no longer in service because all she did was serve and protect,” Hill said.

Loyd’s defense team is hoping evidence from his 2017 arrest will lead to a life sentence, not the death penalty, for Clayton’s murder. Defense attorney Terry Lenamon said Loyd lost an eye during his arrest because of officers’ use of force.

Judge Leticia Marques previously ruled the she will allow Loyd to testify during the penalty phase and jurors will be permitted to view helicopter video that captured Loyd’s arrest.

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.

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.