Jurors recommend death penalty in police killing case

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — After deliberating for five hours over two days, jurors Wednesday recommended the death penalty for a man convicted of killing an Orlando police lieutenant four years ago.

The 12-member jury in Orlando, Florida, agreed unanimously with prosecutors that Markeith Loyd should face capital punishment for the 2017 shooting death of Lt. Debra Clayton. She was killed as she tried to arrest Loyd outside a Walmart store for the fatal shooting of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Loyd, 46, has already been convicted of first-degree murder for killing his ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and her unborn child. The jury in that case recommended he be sentenced to life in prison.

Loyd was removed from the courtroom after arguing with his attorneys and Circuit Judge Leticia Marques over when he will be sentenced and whether he will have another hearing to present additional evidence to the judge, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“I want to get sentenced today,” Loyd said.

The judge, who will decide whether to sentence him to death or give him life in prison, responded, “Mr. Loyd, I’m not going to do your sentencing today.”

During the outburst, Loyd said, “these people have been trying to kill me,” and that he was not scared of what was going on in the courtroom.

Outside the courthouse, Clayton’s husband, Seth, described the decision as “bittersweet” but that it was not going to bring his wife back.

In a statement, Orlando Police Department Chief Orlando Rolon said Clayton’s family and members of the force had been waiting for the day “when the defendant would be held accountable for his heinous crimes.”

“He will now face the highest penalty provided by law,” Rolon said.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was Orlando’s police chief at the time Clayton was killed, said nothing can erase the pain caused by Clayton’s murder.

“But today, there is some relief in knowing that we can move forward and never have to hear the name of Markeith Loyd again,” Mina said in a statement.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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