ORLANDO, Fla. - Markeith Loyd has been found guilty of all five counts in his second murder trial, including the first-degree murder of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton.
On Jan. 9, 2017, Lt. Clayton tried to arrest Loyd in the fatal shooting of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon. She was fatally shot outside of a Walmart near Princeton St. and John Young Parkway.
Loyd testified that he shot Clayton in self-defense and that he did not intend to kill her. Loyd’s attorneys have argued that he was insane when he shot Clayton.
However, on Wednesday, Nov. 3, a jury found Loyd to be guilty of all five counts in the trial regarding Lt. Clayton’s death.
- Guilty: First-degree murder with a firearm of a law enforcement officer
- Guilty: Attempted first-degree murder with a firearm of a law enforcement officer
- Guilty: Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Guilty: Carjacking with a firearm
- Guilty: Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
The penalty phase for this trial will begin on Saturday, the judge said. The jury will remain sequestered and is now tasked with deciding if Loyd should get the death penalty or life in prison.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office reacted on Twitter after the verdict was read, stating that "Jury has found Markeith Loyd GUILTY of First Degree Murder in the killing of Lt. Debra Clayton. We will never forget you, Debra."
Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was the police chief for the Orlando Police Department at the time of Clayton's death, tweeted, "COP KILLER GUILTY OF MURDERING LT. DEBRA CLAYTON."
The Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón also released a statement on Twitter, which read in part "the guilty verdict reached today is a step towards justice for Lieutenant Debra Clayton, her family, and the members of the Orlando Police Department, the community, and all who loved our hero."
He added, "I would like to express sincere appreciation to Assistant State Attorneys Ryan Williams and Rich Buxman who handled this matter and to their entire staff for their professionalism in preparing and prosecuting this case. I also want to thank the jury for their continuing service.
"As we wait for a sentencing decision, we will respect the due process of the criminal justice system."
Both the Orange County Sheriff and Orlando Police Chief spoke outside of the courtroom on Wednesday after the guilty verdict was read.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer made a statement on Twitter too, saying "guilty verdict doesn’t ease the pain that so many have felt from the loss of Lt. Debra Clayton nearly five years ago, but it can provide solace as justice will be served."
Loyd was previously convicted of first-degree murder for killing Dixon and her unborn child. The jury in that case recommended he be sentenced to life in prison.
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