More witnesses called in penalty phase in Markeith Loyd murder trial

Jurors heard from Loyd’s family, medical experts Wednesday

ORLANDO, Fla. – The penalty phase of Markeith Loyd’s murder trial for the 2017 killing of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton continued Thursday with new witnesses for the defense.

Loyd is already serving a life sentence for the 2016 murder of Sade Dixon, his 24-year-old pregnant ex-girlfriend. In November, a jury also found him guilty of first-degree murder in Clayton’s death, and he now faces the death penalty.

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Defense attorneys began Thursday’s testimony with a clinical psychologist, Dr. James Campbell, who examined Loyd to evaluate him for PTSD and trauma.

“Mr. Lloyd spoke about very intense emotional experiences that he had as a child in relation to a couple of movies, specifically, one of them was Roots, another one of them was Mississippi Burning,” Campbell said. “They were again, racially motivated, systemic violence, systemic racism.”

Jurors are also hearing from a detective who was there the night Loyd was arrested by Orlando Police in 2017. The detective said Loyd said he was in pain, but he was not taken to the hospital or treated by paramedics.

On Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from Loyd’s family members who argued against sentencing him to death. Medical experts also took the stand to testify about Loyd’s health.

Judge Leticia Marques also granted the defense’s request to strike an aggravating factor that Clayton’s killing was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, saying the state did not meet the burden of proof.

Forensic neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Colino said that Loyd likely suffered from brain damage before he was arrested in connection to Clayton’s murder, diagnosing him with organic psychosis and orbital frontal syndrome.

Colino said Loyd suffered detriments to his neurological functions that affected his ability to conform his behavior to the law and contributed to Loyd’s distorted perceptions, delusions and paranoia.

The jury also heard from pathologist Dr. William Anderson, who reviewed Loyd’s medical records and talked about the eye injury Loyd sustained while being arrested.

News 6 will livestream the proceedings at the top of this story when it starts.

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.