‘She got justice today’: Jury recommends death for Markeith Loyd for murder of Lt. Debra Clayton

ORLANDO, Fla. — The jury in Markeith Loyd’s sentencing trial has reached a verdict.

Jurors resumed deliberations early Wednesday to try to decide if the convicted police officer killer should be sentenced to death. Deliberations began Tuesday.


4:45 p.m. update

Debra Clayton’s family and law enforcement colleagues reflect on the death penalty verdict today:

  • “I’m grateful that he’s going to spend 23 hours a day in a very small cell thinking about what he’s done,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was the Orlando police chief when Clayton was killed, said.
  • “I’m glad this is over, it’s been a long time coming,” Clayton’s husband Seth Clayton said.
  • “I want to thank the jury that made it clear today that it is not okay to shoot a law enforcement officer,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said.
  • “It’s a sad day … no one wants a life to be taken, but my sister’s life was taken,” said Clayton’s sister, Anita Young. “He literally executed my sister. He didn’t have to do that and I am pleased with the outcome.”
  • “I felt her presence,” Clayton’s sister, Ashley Thomas, said. “I always miss her. She got justice today.”

READ: Who was Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton?

12:50 p.m. update

The decision to recommend death for Loyd took the jury about five hours over the course of two days.

Loyd’s family had nothing to say to reporters about the sentence.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said he is glad he will never have to see Loyd again. He also thanked the jury for sending a message that it is not OK to kill police officers.

There likely will be a Spencer hearing, where more evidence will be presented. The decision is ultimately up to the judge.

11:30 a.m. update

Watch the moment the jury’s verdict was read below:

PHOTOS: Jury recommends death sentence for Markeith Loyd

See photos from within the courtroom below:

11:25 a.m. update

Central Florida law enforcement officials took to social media on Wednesday to react to the news that a jury has recommended the death sentence for Markieth Loyd. Click here to read their reactions.

READ: ‘We can move forward’: Officials react to death penalty recommendation for Markeith Loyd

10:45 a.m. update

The jury recommends Markeith Loyd be sentenced to death for the murder of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

10:30 a.m. update

A verdict has been reached in the sentencing phase of the Markeith Loyd murder trial.


10:10 a.m. update

The jury has asked for the cross-examination testimony of Markeith Loyd’s daughter, Kianna, to be reread in court. That is happening now in the courtroom before deliberations will resume.


Loyd has already been sentenced to life in prison for killing his ex- girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child.

Photos: Markeith Loyd through the years

If they recommend the death penalty, all 12 jurors must agree.

Otherwise, the recommendation will be life in prison.

READ: Who was Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton?

The jury resumed deliberations at 8:30 a.m.

Channel 9 will livestream the reading of the verdict. Click here to watch when that happens.

READ: Who is Markeith Loyd?

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.