Where is Markeith Loyd Now?

March 28, 2024

Florida's Supreme Court has upheld Markeith Loyd's conviction and death sentence for killing Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton in 2017. Loyd was on the run for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child when he shot Clayton in a Walmart parking lot while she was trying to stop him.

In 2022, a jury found Loyd guilty of first-degree murder in the Clayton killing. A judge sentenced him to death in March of that year.

But he was on the run for several months before he was captured by authorities. Gov. Rick Scott removed Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Aramis Ayala from the case in 2019 after she announced her office would no longer seek the death penalty in any first-degree murder cases. Ayala cited the inability of capital punishment to deter crime and protect law enforcement as her reason.

Loyd's attorneys have raised 13 challenges to his convictions and death sentence, including that prosecutors improperly presented their case to jurors. They also argued that it was inappropriate to use a video showing pictures of Clayton with music playing under them during the sentencing phase. The Supreme Court did not agree with the defense's arguments and upheld Loyd's conviction and death sentence Thursday.

During his trial, a clinical psychologist testified that Loyd suffers from the delusional belief that he is a "slave" whom his "slave masters" — the judge and prosecutors — are intent on killing, reports the Orlando Sentinel. He has also claimed he was insane at the time of the shooting and that police officers beat him so badly while he was hiding under a house during the weeklong manhunt that he lost his eye.

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