Among recent developments in the State of Florida vs. Markeith Loyd, 41, of Orlando, Florida is the confirmation by special prosecutor Brad King that he will seek the death penalty for both charges of murder, both of Loyd’s former girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and Orlando Police Department Lt. Debra Clayton.
King’s announcement on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, that verified the state would, in fact, seek the death penalty against Markeith Loyd follow a period of high emotion and drama that began on March 16, 2017, when the state prosecutor, Aramis Ayala, whose jurisdiction includes that of Orlando, announced she would not seek the death penalty – not only in the state’s case against Markeith Loyd — but for anyone charged with murder in her district during her term in office.
Florida Governor Rick Scott quickly responded to Ayala’s announcement, asking her first to recuse herself as the prosecutor for the Loyd trial, then replaced her with state attorney Brad King from the 5th District Court when Ayala refused to remove herself from the case.
Ayala then filed a motion in the 9th District Court, her current jurisdiction, to halt the court proceedings against Loyd while she tried to overturn the governor’s decision. Loyd also voiced opposition to Ayala being removed as prosecutor of the criminal charges against him. Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten denied Ayala’s motion, directing her to take her case to the state Supreme Court.
During a pre-trial status hearing on April 4, 2017, and prior to the public announcement by Brad King that he would be seeking the death penalty, Loyd filed a motion with the court to be represented by Terry Lenoman, a Miami-based attorney with experience in capital cases as his court-appointed attorney. Until this request, Loyd had been adamant about representing himself at trial, opposing even the stand-by counsel that was assigned to him by Judge Lauten. Lauten is scheduled to rule on Loyd’s request at a status hearing set for Monday, April 10, 2017.
Emails From OPD Confirm Loyd Blind in Left Eye From Use of Police Force During His Arrest
An internal police investigation remains ongoing into the use of force by police during the arrest of Markeith Loyd during the culmination of a 9-day manhunt for the man suspected of shooting and killing first his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, in mid-December 2016 and OPD Lt. Debra Clayton on January 9, 2017.
The video of Loyd’s surrender and arrest that was taken from an OPD helicopter showed a police officer kicking Loyd in the side of the head before the camera panned away from the scene. OPD Chief John Mina has said the use of force by his officers was warranted because Loyd resisted arrest by refusing to put his hands behind his back.
Loyd was taken from the point of apprehension to the Orlando Regional Medical Center where he received treatment for the injuries incurred during his arrest.
The defendant has been wearing an eye patch over his left eye consistently in his court appearances, telling the court that the police ruined his left eye. The Orlando Sentinel has confirmed that Loyd is blind in his left eye via an email sent by OPD Lt. Dan Brady to Chief Mina on January 18, 2017:
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“[Orlando Regional Medical Center] needed to perform surgery on his left eye and as a result the doctor said he will be permanently blind in his left eye. This was as a result of the injuries Loyd received during his response to resistance.”