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Friday, October 8, 2021

Watch: Jury selection begins in second murder trial of Markeith Loyd

Posted By on Fri, Oct 8, 2021 at 12:10 PM

Jury selection is underway for Markeith Loyd, the once-convicted murderer who shot and killed Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton in January 2017.

The closely watched trial had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but began in earnest today with the beginnings of jury selection. The process could take as long as a month, given the high-profile nature of the case. The jury that convicted Loyd on a charge of first-degree murder for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend was configured in less than a week.

Loyd was the subject of an intense manhunt that lasted over a month, beginning with the shooting of Sade Dixon in December 2016. Loyd was spotted at an area Walmart in January, leading to the fatal shootout with Clayton. Authorities arrested Loyd nine days later following a stand-off at an abandoned Carver Shores home.

Police beat Loyd while he was surrendering, with video footage showing Loyd crawling toward officers before being kicked repeatedly. Though all involved officers were cleared of wrongdoing, the resulting injuries left Loyd blind in his left eye.

Loyd's first murder trial became a flashpoint for the debate around capital punishment in Florida. State attorney Aramis Ayala refused to seek the death penalty in the case, a move supported by the victim's family. Then-governor Rick Scott removed her from the case. He was ultimately found guilty, but jurors pushed for a sentence of life in prison.

Loyd faces the possibility of the death penalty yet again in this new trial. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Loyd's attorneys plan to argue Loyd was insane at the time of the shootout, believing that police officers were trying to kill him. Loyd has pleaded not guilty. 

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