Jury recommends death penalty for Markeith Loyd

Jury recommends death penalty for Markeith Loyd
Photo via Markeith Loyd/Facebook

A jury recommended the death penalty for Markeith Loyd on Wednesday.

Loyd was found guilty of murder last month. Loyd shot and killed Orlando Police officer Debra Clayton as she attempted to apprehend him in a Walmart parking lot in 2017. Loyd was being sought by police for the killing of his ex-girlfriend. He was sentenced to life in prison on that charge.

The OPD released a statement praising the decision.

"In the years since her death, Lieutenant Clayton's loved ones and the entire OPD family waited for the day when the defendant would be held accountable for his heinous crimes. He will now face the highest penalty provided by the law," they shared.

Loyd's first trial was a flashpoint, even beyond the typical news cycle of a high-profile murder case. Then-Governor Rick Scott removed the state attorney Aramis Ayala from that case for her decision to not seek the death penalty. Ayala doesn't believe in capital punishment in any case and her decision aligned with the wishes of the victim's family. Ultimately, the jury recommended a life sentence.

At the same time, many advocates railed against the way Loyd was treated during his arrest. Police beat a surrendering Loyd, ultimately rendering him blind in his left eye. Though an investigation ultimately cleared officers of any official wrongdoing, the evidence of their brutality is on Loyd's permanently damaged face.

Circuit Judge Leticia Marques will offer the final decision as to whether Loyd will face the death penalty, a verdict the jury had to unanimously agree on to recommend.

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