Orlando, FL – A jury deliberated for five hours on Wednesday and found Markeith Loyd guilty of the first-degree murder of Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton and now they must decide if the killer deserves the death penalty.
Loyd was also convicted of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault with a firearm, carjacking with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, WKMG reported.
The sentencing hearing will be held on Saturday morning and at that point, the jury will decide whether to put the man on death row for killing a police officer while he was on the run for killing his pregnant girlfriend, WESH reported.
“I dreamed of this day – that he would be found guilty of this charge,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina told reporters after the verdict.
Sheriff Mina was Orlando police chief when Lt. Clayton was murdered, WESH reported.
Loyd murdered Lt. Clayton while he was on the run from authorities after he killed his pregnant girlfriend, Sade Dixon, on Dec. 13, 2016.
On Jan. 9, 2017, a citizen recognized him as the subject of a manhunt, and alerted then-Orlando Police Department Master Sergeant Debra Clayton.
Loyd fatally shot the sergeant four times, execution style, when she attempted to apprehend him on Jan. 9, 2017 in a Walmart parking lot.
Sgt. Clayton, 42, radioed for backup, then confronted Loyd in the store parking lot.
Loyd opened fire, hitting her in the thigh, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The sergeant returned fire, hitting Loyd in the chest, but he was wearing a ballistic vest.
The gunman continued firing his weapon as Sgt. Clayton fell to the ground, striking her in the buttocks, stomach and neck.
According to an autopsy report, the round that entered Sgt. Clayton’s neck came from an upward angle and partially exited through her back, suggesting she was on the ground when she was shot.
On the last day of trial, Assistant State Attorney Ryan Williams said Loyd stood over the wounded officer’s body and fired the fatal shot to her neck, WESH reported.
Williams told the jury that that Loyd had planned to kill any law enforcement officers who tried to apprehend him because he was determined not to go back to jail.
The prosecutor said Loyd could have made a run for it after he shot Sgt. Clayton in the hip, but instead he made sure that he had killed her, WESH reported.
Loyd fled the scene after he killed the law enforcement officer, but was spotted a short while later by an Orange County Sheriff’s Captain Joe Carter, WKMG reported.
The gunman fired two rounds at Capt. Carter’s unmarked patrol vehicle before he fled the scene again.
Capt. Carter was not injured during the attack.
Loyd then carjacked a man at gunpoint and fled the area, leading to a nine-day manhunt.
He was ultimately apprehended at a Carver Shores residence on Jan. 17, 2017, WKMG reported.
According to police, Loyd was wearing body armor and had two guns at the time of his arrest.
The murdered sergeant’s officers used her handcuffs to take him into custody.
Sgt. Clayton was posthumously promoted to lieutenant by then-Chief Mina at her funeral service on Jan. 14, 2017.
The defense claimed at trial that Loyd had been insane when he fatally shot the law enforcement officer, WESH reported.
Loyd’s lawyer told the jury that his client had no plans to kill anyone and was just defending himself when Sgt. Clayton shot at him.
The defense also referenced Loyd’s difficult childhood in the closing argument, WESH reported.
Sheriff Mina said he wasn’t buying any of the defense.
“As you saw in his testimony, the guy is a jerk,” the sheriff said. “He is an evil person who did anything possible he could do to get away from law enforcement.”
The jury will decide whether to give Loyd the death sentence on Nov. 6, WESH reported.