Accused Florida Killer Asserts ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Status

Markeith Loyd, 41, of Orlando, Florida, asserted his status as a “sovereign citizen” during his arraignment hearing on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, when appearing that day before Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Florida Frederick Lauten.

Markeith Loyd’s Court Appearance on February 22, 2017, when he requested an extension of the date for his arraignment hearing:

Loyd, who was originally scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Wednesday, February 21, 2017, appeared in court on March 1, 2017, after asking Judge Lauten for a one-week extension, explaining that as the defendant and his own legal representative that he had not received explanation of the 14 charges against him from the state as law mandates. Lauten granted that extension, but when Loyd requested another extension until March 3, 2017, the court denied that request.

Judge Lauten, who presided over Loyd’s competency hearing on January 26, 2017 and determined that the man facing two first-degree murder charges, in addition to other criminal charges, was competent to make the decision to represent himself during the legal proceedings, entered pleas of not guilty for Loyd when the defendant refused to respond to multiples “yes” or “no” questions posed by Lauten.

Markeith Loyd Asserts “Sovereign Citizen” Status During Arraignment Hearing

Loyd made a number of statements during his arraignment hearing indicating he believes himself to be a sovereign citizen and therefore not subject to the laws of the State of Florida or the jurisdiction of the court. Some of Loyd’s statements at his arraignment hearing included:

For the record I wanna state that I am Markeith Loyd, flesh and blood human being. … MARKEITH LOYD, in all capital letters, that’s not me. That’s a corporation that was created at my birth that I do not accept. That’s not me.”

And therefore, I am going to tell you the fact, I am in due court, I accept the charges value. And I want to use my UCC financial statement, my number, to write these charges off.”

Judge Lauten responded, “For the record Mr. Loyd wants to talk about the UCC and corporate status,” sighed Judge Lauten, “Which is a position that certain citizens that are sometimes called Sovereign citizens take in courts of law, oftentimes misguided. But it is not the first time the court has heard that position.”

Just as he had during Loyd’s hearing to determine his competency to choose his legal defense, Lauten explained to the defendant that representing himself on such serious criminal charges may not be in his best interest, pointing out the advantages of having someone familiar with criminal justice to represent him throughout the process. Loyd finally answered, “I don’t care, I’m representing myself. There ain’t nothing you all can do to me, nothing this courtroom can do to me. Worst thing that happened to me already happened … Strap me up right now.”

Lauten ordered that standby counsel in the form of a public defender be appointed for Loyd, someone to whom the defendant could look to for advice if desired or who could be ready to step in as Loyd’s legal counsel since s/he would be fully knowledgeable and current with Loyd’s case.

Lauten admonished Loyd, explaining that if Loyd was disruptive during court proceedings, such as not respecting courtroom decorum or responsive in communication, the judge would require the standby attorney to take over for Loyd as his legal representative.

At this time, Markeith Loyd will next be expected in court on March 20, 2017, for a status hearing on his pre-trial hearing on the murder charge of his pregnant former girlfriend, Sade Dixon and their unborn child on April 17, 2017, with jury selection scheduled to begin May 1. At least one other status hearing will be held on April 3 before the April 17 pre-trial hearing.

The State of Florida’s case against Loyd for first-degree murder and other charges in the shooting death of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton will begin with a pre-trial conference on June 13 with the case to begin moving forward on June 19.

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