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Markeith Loyd To Represent Himself For Murder Of Lt. Debra Clayton

By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin

Orange County, FL – Convicted murdered Markeith Loyd got permission from a judge on Monday to represent himself in his upcoming trial for the murder of Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton.

Orange County Clerk of Courts records showed that Loyd filed a motion requesting to defend himself in July and the judge granted it on Aug. 2, WKMG reported.

Court records showed that defense attorneys Terence Lenamon and Ted Marrero were ordered to remain on the case as standby counsel.

Loyd is charged with having 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 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.

Loyd fled the scene, 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-Orlando Police Chief John Mina at her funeral service on Jan. 14, 2017, WOFL reported.

Loyd was convicted for murdering his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child in October of 2019 and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

His trial for the murder of Lt. Clayton is scheduled to begin on Oct. 8, two years later, WOFL reported.

However, the jury won’t be told why police were looking for Loyd the day he murdered the officer, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

“The State may introduce evidence there was a warrant for Mr. Loyd’s arrest. They may not introduce evidence of what it was for,” Orange County Circuit Judge Leticia Marques wrote in a two-page order on Jan. 29, 2020. “All other evidence pertaining to Sade Dixon’s case may not be introduced during the guilt phase.”

At a hearing to work out the details of the upcoming trial in April, attorneys for Loyd and the prosecution argued over whether the defendant should be allowed to forego wearing his prosthetic eye and wear an eye patch in court, WKMG reported.

The judge has previously ruled that allegations of improper use of force against Loyd when he was arrested were not allowed to be introduced into evidence.

A special prosecutor appointed by former Florida Governor Rick Scott to investigate the use of force used by officers when took they the accused murderer and cop-killer into custody determined that the officers’ actions had been “lawful and justified” in July of 2019.

“After carefully examining the report and evidence, I have determined that the use of force used during the arrest of Markeith Loyd was lawful and justified under the provisions of Florida Statutes, and no further action will be taken by this office,” 18th Circuit State Attorney Phil Archer announced.

Loyd is expected to argue insanity and that he was acting in self-defense because he was afraid of law enforcement, WKMG reported.

“I was trying to turn myself in. I was trying to turn myself in. Walmart never had to happen. I’ll turn myself in if they show me they’re not trying to kill me,” he told the judge during a pre-trial hearing in April.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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