Accused Murderer Markeith Loyd Will Not Face Death Penalty

Markeith Loyd of Orlando, Florida, charged with the murders of his former girlfriend and Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton, will face life sentences rather than the death sentence, announced by Florida’s 9th Circuit Court prosecutor, Aramis Ayala, in a press conference on Thursday, March 16, 2017.

The Orange County, Florida District Attorney Ayala explained her reasoning in choosing not to impose the death penalty for Loyd as multifaceted, including the length and cost of a death penalty trial as opposed to a trial in which a life sentence is the most restrictive sentence that can be adjudicated, and her belief that the death penalty is an inhumane sentence.

Ayala explained that Loyd will not be the only person charged with first-degree murder for whom she would not seek the death penalty, explaining that after a review, she determined that data doesn’t show support that tt the death penalty improves public safety or safety of law enforcement.

Florida Governor Rick Scott Calls for Prosecutor Aramis Ayala to Recuse Herself from Loyd Trial

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a statement following Ayala’s March 16 news conference, indicating he strongly disagrees with Ayala’s decision in the Loyd case and requesting that she recuse herself from prosecuting Loyd’s trial:

Orlando Police Chief John Mina Expresses His Anger with Ayala’s Decision in Loyd Case

Gov. Scott, along with Orlando Police Department Chief John Mina expressed that, in their opinions, Loyd’s case calls for a death sentence trial due both the shooting death of former girlfriend, Sade Dixon, in December 2016, who was pregnant with Loyd’s child at the time of her death, and the execution-style shooting death of on-duty Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton in a Walmart parking lot in January 2017.

Mina also expressed his views in an interview with WESH 2 News:

“I was furious, I’ll put it bluntly. This is a person who killed his girlfriend, killed his unborn child, executed a police officer in broad daylight, and the fact that we have video of him doing this as she lay helpless on the ground — it’s very upsetting.”

Loyd faces numerous other criminal charges including attempted murder and the wearing of a police-style bullet proof vest. During Loyd’s arraignment hearing on March 1, 2017, Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Florida Frederick Lauten entered “not guilty” pleas to all charges on behalf of Loyd who had chosen to represent himself but was essentially non-responsive to the court’s questions that day.

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