Markeith Loyd awaits judge’s ruling after competency hearing ahead of scheduled sentencing

2 court-appointed doctors testify on Loyd’s competency

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A competency hearing for Markeith Loyd was held Monday ahead of his sentencing in the murder of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

The judge presiding over Loyd’s case has not yet made any ruling on Loyd’s competency and did not say when a ruling would be forthcoming. Loyd is currently scheduled to be sentenced on March 3. A jury unanimously recommended the death sentence for Loyd following his conviction for Clayton’s murder.

During the hearing Monday, two court-appointed experts who evaluated Loyd discussed the results found, including Dr. Jeffrey Danziger, who went to the jail to meet with Loyd and present the evaluation.

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Danziger said Loyd has a mental illness, which plays a role when it comes to his competency and contributes to his “delusional beliefs” about the case, including hearing spirits telling him how to act in the courtroom to “expose the system.”

“He is an intelligent man. He understands questions. If you were to ask him about his upbringing, what he had for dinner last night, he could testify appropriately. Anything related to the case would likely go off into delusional tangents,” Danziger said.

When asked by Judge Leticia Marques whether Loyd would understand if he was sentenced to life or death, Danziger conceded he would.

Forensic psychologist, Dr. Katherine Oses, who testified for the state and defense in the past, also found Loyd understood he might be sentenced to death and said he was competent to proceed.

This comes after Loyd exited the court without permission as his Spencer hearing resumed earlier this month. After a recess, the hearing continued with Loyd watching the court proceedings from a holding cell with a camera. The judge ruled two doctors would be appointed to determine Loyd’s competency to see if they would back the defense’s evaluation.

The judge is set to make a final sentence in the Loyd case based on the jury’s recommendation for the death penalty on March 3.

Loyd, 46, was found guilty on Nov. 3 of five charges, including first-degree murder, for the shooting death of Clayton in 2017. He was already serving life in prison for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon.

About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.