ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The families of Markeith Loyd’s victims want closure after several setbacks have delayed the trial of the accused killer, prosecutors said.
In January 2017, Loyd gunned down Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton in a Walmart parking lot after she recognized him as being sought in his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon’s slaying, prosecutors said.
Last week, Loyd's attorneys claimed prosecutors were trying to rush his case to trial so it doesn't go back to state attorney Aramis Ayala. After Ayala declared her opposition to the death penalty, Loyd's case was transferred to an outside prosecutor.
Loyd’s attorney, Terence Lenamon, said he needed his own crime experts to look at evidence in the case, including key ballistic evidence that allegedly links the gun Loyd was caught with to the homicides.
Lenamon was able to delay that evidence on a technicality, regarding his experience in trying death penalty cases.
Prosecutors argue that six more months should be enough time for Loyd’s attorney, and they're accusing Loyd and his team of grandstanding and drawing the trials out.
"Why is it important to talk to my ballistic person and my person who does the crime scene about where these items were found, what the possibilities are, whether there's strike evidence that's consistent with their stories? For me to just ask them haphazard questions without fine-tuning what my theory is judge, is ineffective assistance," Lenamon said.
"The state has the right to a speedy resolution of trials, and that's my purpose. And, I have, Mr. Lenamon may not recall, but I have actually gone to judges, a judge in the past and argued that the judge not pay Mr. Lenamon anymore until he tries the case," State Attorney Brad King said.
Prosecutors wanted Loyd finger-printed inside the Orange County courtroom, but the judge agreed to clear the courtroom.
The defense claimed that allowing television viewers to watch the fingerprinting would ruin Loyd's reputation.
Between the Dixon and Clayton cases, prosecutors have identified 194 witnesses.
The trials might not begin until April.
Orlando police Chief John Mina told Channel 9 on Thursday that lengthy legal process has been disheartening.
"I think that's important for our system to get it right so that there's no way out for him," he said. "I know there's extreme frustration. The good news is he's behind bars, and ultimately, he's going to be brought to justice. But sometimes, the delays can be frustrating especially for the families."
WFTV legal Belvin Perry Jr., who is a former chief judge, said Loyd's new attorney needs time to prepare his case.
"In complex cases like this it is not unusual for cases like this to take two maybe three to four years to actually get to trial," he said. "If you rush the defendant to trial without giving an adequate time to prepare, you have to start this process all over again when it gets reversed."
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