ORLANDO, Fla. - Markeith Loyd's murder trial began Friday with a full day of testimony from his ex-girlfriend's family members, who were there the day she died.
Loyd is accused of shooting and killing 24-year-old Sade Dixon, a pregnant mother of two, and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton. He will stand trial next year in Clayton's death.
Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgeway started the trial with a near 14-minute opening statement.
"Markeith Loyd was determined to kill Sade Dixon. He did kill her and her unborn child ... and he is guilty," Ridgeway said.
Loyd sat silent as the state depicted the night Dixon was killed. He was wearing a pink button-down shirt and a purple tie, but he was not wearing his eye patch. Loyd was blinded in one eye during his capture by Orlando police after more than a month on the run.
Defense attorney Terry Lenamon started his opening statement with an expletive.
"My brother can whip your (expletive)," said Lenamon, claiming that's what Sade Dixon said to Loyd. "And a few minutes later, Dixon's brother (Ron) attacked Markeith Loyd."
#LoydTrial // Defense says Dixon has Loyd's FB password "When she went into his Facebook, she saw what she expected. That's he was communicating w/ an ex-girlfriend and she was livid. She was angry" - @TerryLenamon @news6wkmg — Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 11, 2019
#LoydTrial // Defense describes fight between Loyd and Dixon after Loyd admits he had slept with his ex. "So she does something really stupid. She went up the stairs to her room to her lock box. She opens the lock box and takes a gun..." @TerryLenamon @news6wkmg — Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 11, 2019
The defense said Loyd admitted to Dixon that he had slept with his ex-girlfriend.
"She then does something really stupid," Lenamon said. "She went up the stairs to her room, to her lockbox. She opens the lockbox and takes a gun."
Lenamon said when Dixon pulled out a gun, "(Loyd) believes that in that moment, she's going to kill him."
Loyd then pulled out his two guns, the defense said.
According to Lenamon, Ron Dixon intervened and got into a fight with Loyd.
"At some point, the gun discharged and hits the brother," he said. "Since Loyd didn't know where Dixon was or the other gun, he starts shooting and shooting and shooting and shooting."
The defense said Loyd was mad because he felt Sade Dixon put him in a dire situation.
"He sent a text at 4 a.m., 'You caused this. Angry at you and that's why I hit you,'" Lenamon said. "You are going to hear all of this from Markeith."
'He was aiming for my heart'
Among the first witnesses to testify was Ronald Alan Stuart Jr. 29, Dixon's older brother, who Loyd is accused of shooting during the same encounter.
Stuart, a computer engineer, said he was working in his home office when Loyd came to see his sister. After hearing a loud noise, Stuart testified he went outside to see the pair arguing.
"She was really afraid; she was ducking her head down and trying to avoid him," Stuart said.
Stuart told the jury that he told Loyd to leave and that they should talk things over another day and Loyd said, "No, no, no. We're going to talk about this today."
Dixon ran toward the front door and started banging on it, Stuart said. As Dixon banged on the door, Stuart said he saw Loyd pull a gun from his hoodie pocket and begin firing.
#LoydTrial // Ronald: "He did motion to put the bullet in a chamber and held it up and before he did that I said 'It's not that serious bro' I had my hands up like this....I heard a bang and the next hing I knew I didn't have control of my body." @news6wkmg — Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 11, 2019
"He hit me twice in the leg, and he was aiming for my heart," said Stuart, who suffered gunshot wounds to the leg and chest. He was hospitalized for a month and underwent multiple surgeries.
Stuart said Loyd continued firing, "He kept on shooting her."
Dixon's mother, father and younger brother also took the stand Friday.
Her mother, Stephanie Dixon Daniels, described hearing the shots and running out the front door to see two of her adult children bleeding on the ground.
Sade Dixon's younger brother, Dominique Daniels, then 19, said he and his mother saw the two on the ground but had to retreat inside the home because more shots were fired before Loyd left.
Both Dixon Daniels and her son attempted CPR on Sade Dixon before paramedics arrived.
Loyd's attorney asked Dixon Daniels if she had a previous bias against Loyd dating her 24-year-old daughter.
"You thought he was too old for your daughter?" Lenamon asked her.
"She was 24; he was 40," she replied, adding that she called Loyd a pedophile to his face.
Jury views deputy body camera video of moments after shooting
After the opening statements concluded, the first witness, Andrea McCarty, was called. She said she heard screaming and four gunshots from the house across the street.
McCarty was the first to call 911 after hearing Dixon's mother screaming.
"She was screaming, ‘Oh my God. He shot my baby. He shot my baby. I got on the phone and called 911," McCarty said.
The first witness, Orange County Deputy Rachel Magura, was then called to the stand.
Magura was one of the first responders to arrive the night Dixon was killed.
"I observed two individuals lying on the porch and saw they were injured," Magura said.
#LoydTrial // Deputy Magura was wearing a body camera when she arrived. Jurors have been excused while judge looks at it @news6wkmg https://t.co/IABtOzUdB5 — Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 11, 2019
Just before noon, the jury was shown Magura's body-worn camera video, which shows the shooting scene after she arrived.
Judge Leticia Marques reviewed the video after saying it may be disturbing, even for someone who frequently sees that type of content. The video was chaotic and Dixon's brother could be heard yelling in pain.
"He is yelling in pain; this is prejudicial," Lenamon told the judge.
After reviewing the video, the judge permitted the video to be shown to the jurors. The jurors watched the video on screens in front of them.
"She's not breathing?" the deputy asks in the video. A few moments later, Dixon's mother says, "I don't feel a pulse … my baby's not responding."
Dixon's family immediately began describing Loyd's vehicle to the deputy, saying he left the scene.
#LoydTrial : Judge rules "There are parts they can use but have to edit a lot out." @news6wkmg "There are parts of it the guns location are admissible, the shell casings are admissible. The wounds on Mr Stewart... you need to figure out how you can edit this down" @news6wkmg https://t.co/bCdYFpWQG9 — Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 11, 2019
Testimony from authorities
Orange County Sheriff's Detective Wesley Avant was called to the stand by the prosecution. He said found a man and a woman suffering from gunshot wounds when he arrived at the scene.
Avant said he first focused on the man, who had been shot in the chest.
Avant said he stood over a nearby firearm to ensure that it wasn't moved by anyone.
U.S. Secret Service Agent Andrew Harrison, who previously worked as an OCSO crime scene investigator, also recounted what he saw at the scene.
Harrison detailed the precautions that authorities take while processing a crime scene.
Harrison was asked about evidence markers and listed what each one stood for.
"These are the rounds that were located in the magazine that was found at the scene," Harrison said.
During cross-examination, the defense asked Harrison about whether any evidence had been moved before he arrived at the scene. Harrison said it's possible that shell casings could have been displaced from their original locations while first responders tended to the victims.
A court reporter was also called to the stand to repeat transcripts from Loyd's previous court appearances.
Potential juror issue
Prior to being dismissed for lunch Friday, a juror wrote a note to the judge about a possible problem.
The juror said that another juror had lied about where she worked.
The judge said she would review the information during the lunch break.
#LoydTrial /The state called a court reporter from a previous hearing using Loyd's own words against him : "It wasn't my fault and he came and came out. I told him we were straight. She told him we were straight. She didn't even ask you for your help she done pull the gun on me" — Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) October 11, 2019
Jury seated in first murder trial
Nearly two weeks after jury selection began in Loyd's first murder trial, the jury was seated Thursday.
During the jury selection process, which began Sept. 27, more than 700 potential jurors were questioned. Several of them had to be excused because they admitted they couldn't remain fair as they hear evidence about the shooting death of Sade Dixon, Loyd's pregnant ex-girlfriend, or because they knew too much about the high-profile case.
The jury of 12 women and four men will be sequestered for the duration of the trial, which could last about a week.
Loyd is accused of fatally shooting Dixon during an argument in December 2016. Authorities said he then killed Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton weeks later as she tried to arrest him outside a John Young Parkway Walmart.
He will face a second trial next year in connection with Clayton's death.
He's claiming self-defense in both cases.
"This is a high-stakes case. It's the highest stakes because it's the death penalty," said News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer.
Kramer was asked if the makeup of the jury would have an impact on the outcome.
"The fact that this was allegedly his baby that was shot when Dixon was shot, and both were killed -- certainly that is going to play to this jury," he said.
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