Markeith Loyd abruptly leaves courtroom during Spencer hearing

Expert testified on Loyd’s competency

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – As a Spencer hearing for Markeith Loyd resumed Monday morning, he left the courtroom abruptly while struggling with deputies.

The court was preparing for another expert to evaluate Loyd and determine his competence when he appeared to get upset after technical delays in the court.

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“I said I’m leaving, who is going to make me stay? Who is going to make me stay?” He said.

Following his exit, Judge Leticia Marques said, “The court has not given him permission to leave.” His attorneys told the judge after he left they did not believe he was in a “good state” or “competent to proceed.”

“He has manifested that behavior since the day he was arrested. There is nothing about his behavior today that is any different from anything that has happened before when he has been examined and competent to proceed. I don’t know if he is competent or not, that’s what we have doctors for,” Marques said.

After a recess, the hearing resumed with Loyd watching the court proceedings from a holding cell with a camera. The judge has already ruled she will appoint two other doctors to rule on Loyd’s competency, for the court’s behalf, to see if it goes along with defense’s witnesses or not.

Watch the video of Loyd’s outburst below:

The defense called Dr. Xavier Amador to provide his testimony. Amador is an expert in Anosognosia, a neurological condition described by the National Center for Biotechnology Information as when one is unconsciously in denial and unaware of an apparent disability or deficit, according to Loyd’s attorneys.

Amador said Loyd has several delusions, including how one day the judge wore red shoes and Loyd took that as a sign she is out to kill him.

After several hours of testimony, the court ended in a recess with the judge saying the name of a second expert would be given to attorneys. A competency hearing is set for Feb. 21.

The hearing took place several weeks ahead of a judge’s decision to give Loyd a life or death sentence for the 2017 murder of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

A jury in Loyd’s murder trial recommended the death penalty in December. Loyd verbally waived his right to a Spencer hearing and asked to be sentenced immediately, but he later said he no longer wished to waive that right.

The first day of the Spencer hearing, which gives the defendant’s lawyers one more chance to provide evidence that could change the outcome of a sentence, took place on Jan. 14.

Loyd’s defense attorney called on several witnesses during that hearing, including Loyd’s sister and a psychologist who testified Loyd has a delusional disorder. Loyd took the stand in his own defense, taking the final opportunity to address the court. He brought up points he has previously made when he testified earlier in his trial, reiterating his belief that police were out to kill him.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge said the state and defense had until Feb. 1 to send in memos and that she would make her decision March 3 on the sentencing.

Loyd is already serving a life sentence for the 2016 murder of his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon, who was pregnant at the time.

About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.