Doctors discuss Markeith Loyd's mental state ahead of trial's closing arguments

ORLANDO, Fla. — A jury must decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole for Markeith Loyd, who was found guilty last week of first-degree murder for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and her unborn baby in 2016.

Several doctors took the stand Tuesday to discuss Loyd's mental state. A psychiatrist told the jury that Loyd suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has lingering effects from the beatings his mother gave him growing up.

"Some of these beatings lasted for a very long time, to the point where he reported that his mother got winded and kind of stopped," said clinical psychiatrist James Campbell.

Under cross-examination, the state questioned if PTSD actually had any effect on the murders.

Another doctor testified that Loyd's PTSD and delusions played into the reaction he had when he pulled a gun in December 2016 and began firing.

"It was my conclusion that he was suffering from a thought disorder, which is a symptom of psychosis, a symptom of being out of touch with reality," said psychiatrist Michael Scott Maher.

Maher said he did not believe that Loyd met the criteria for legal insanity.

Dr. Joseph Sesta, a neuropsychologist who examined Loyd after the crimes, does believe he sustained severe head injuries throughout his life.

"He has a lot of head injuries. He has one from when he was 13 and on a military base. He got beat up with a pool cue, and they found him wandering and took him to the hospital," Sesta said.

Loyd's daughters also took the stand to discuss their upbringing.

"My dad helped me get through a lot of stuff when I was younger because he listened to me," said 25-year-old Kianna Loyd. "I think he knew how I was feeling."

Through tears, the young mother explained how Loyd has helped her parent her own daughter via jailhouse phone calls.

"He felt bad that he couldn't be there for us physically, and he wanted to be able to do that," said Loyd.

Closing arguments are slated to begin Wednesday at 9 a.m.

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