ORLANDO, Fla. - The penalty phase in the trial of Markeith Loyd began Monday after he was found guilty last week of first-degree murder for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and her unborn baby in 2016.
A month after killing Dixon, authorities said Loyd shot and killed Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton to avoid capture. That case is scheduled to go to trial in 2020.
This trial is for Dixon's death only. A jury must decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Markeith Loyd had some parting words for Judge Leticia Marques before court recess, giving one final head nod to the cameras as the day ended.
Testimony ends for the day. Court is expected to resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Dr. Marvin Dunn took the stand and spoke about race relations throughout the state of Florida and how it relates to the Loyd trial. He said that Loyd does believe in systematic racism and that Loyd's case may be the most extreme he's ever worked with.
Dunn said Loyd sufferers from developmental problems and believes that Loyd is psychotic. When asked what he thought shaped Loyd from his life experiences, Dunn said, ”It was like he had to grow up on his own, with very few limits being set."
Dunn explained that Loyd's upbringing didn't do him any favors, citing the rough area he grew up in and Loyd's mother not being able to provide stability.
The defense called a childhood friend of Markeith Loyd to the stand. The defense asked him about the time Loyd was kidnapped and beaten.
“He looked at a fancy car, and they stopped him right there at gunpoint,” he said.
His friend said the men took him to an apartment on Kirkman Road where they beat him.
“His face wasn’t even normal,” he said.
His friend testified that Loyd was a generous person.
Lenamon: “Did he stop believing in Jesus?”
“Yes,” he replied.
Lenamon: “Do you care about Markeith?”
“Yes,” he replied.
Lenamon: “Do you love him?“
“Yes,” he said.
Markeith Loyd's sister, Dana Loyd, testified about their childhood.
“He would take over all the chores, so we wouldn’t get in trouble,” Dana Loyd said.
She also talked about the days when they didn't have food, and he would steal lunch meat and bread from Winn-Dixie.
Again, the defense asked whether she loves her brother, to which she replied, “Yes.”
Prosecutors asked about the level of violence the siblings received as punishment. Dana Loyd said it was not a normal level of discipline.
She stepped down at 2:44 p.m.
Markeith Loyd’s other sister, Shevona (spelling unknown) Loyd, was called to the stand.
She was asked to describe Markeith Loyd’s personality.
“He loved to make people laugh, more than anything,” his sister said.
She spoke about his paranoia.
She also spoke about how much she loves him and that her children love him, too.
She stepped down, and Markeith Loyd’s other sister, Dana Loyd, was called to the stand.
The defense called Markeith Loyd's brother Barry Jacobs to the stand.
“Same mother, different father,“ he said.
Jacobs said Markeith Loyd was more reserved after he got out of prison.
“He appeared to be acting paranoid?” defense attorney Terry Lenamon asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
Jacobs said Markeith Loyd believed people were trying to kill him.
As Jacobs described his brother to the court, he seemed to wipe away tears.
Jacobs said he wanted Markeith Loyd to turn himself in.
“Do you love your brother?” Lenamon asked.
“He’s still my super hero,” Jacobs said.
The prosecution cross-examined Jacobs for about one minute, simply confirming facts about the case.
Jacobs stepped down at 2:18 p.m.
Attorney Terry Lenamon asked Tanya Loyd about Sade Dixon.
“Did he tell you about his feelings about Sade Dixon?” Lenamon asked.
“He expressed his love for her,” Tanya Loyd replied.
Lenamon asked: “Do you love your brother?”
“I have always been proud to call Markeith Loyd my brother and that will never change,” she said.
The prosecution then cross-examined Tanya Loyd. The questioning didn't last more than five minutes.
The defense then redirected and asked Tanya Loyd about Markeith Loyd’s feelings on racism.
She said he was affected by racism.
“How wrong it was for white people to do black people that way,” she said.
After he got out of prison his feelings about racism were amplified, she said.
Tanya Loyd stepped down at 2:06 p.m.
After lunch, the defense continued presenting its case and called Markeith Loyd's sister, Tanya Loyd to the stand.
Tanya Loyd testified that she and her siblings lived in Carver Shores.
“It would be considered a rough place to stay,” she said.
Tanya Loyd said her mother was often not home when they were children growing up in Carver Shores. She said her mother was “hanging out” instead of being home.
“My brother (Markeith Loyd) would steal bread and bologna for us to eat,” Tanya Loyd said.
“Was your mom strict?” Defense attorney Terry Lenamon asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
Tanya Loyd described a time when she and her siblings were sitting outside drinking water from plastic cups.
“She pulled up and saw us and didn’t agree with us having the cups outside. She beat us for having the cups outside,” Tanya Loyd said.
Tanya Loyd said after they moved to Pine Hills, Markeith Loyd would often sells drugs and then give the money to his mother to pay the bills.
The prosecution began cross-examining Patricia Loyd.
Patricia Loyd told the prosecution she didn’t recall answering any questions about Markeith’s change in behavior after the severe beating he suffered when he was younger.
In fact, most questions asked by the prosecutor were answered with a “No.”
But the prosecution read her statement back to the court indicating she had answered the questions.
The defense then stepped up and went over the prosecution's previous questions.
The court recessed for lunch at 11:50 a.m.
Patricia Loyd talked about the day Markeith’s cousin Wesley was killed. He had gone to the scene and saw his cousin’s body and cried.
“Someone came to my mother’s house and told my mother and sister her son got shot,” Patricia Loyd said.
“Did he change his belief system?” Lenamon asked.
Patricia Loyd said her son’s belief system changed and that “he believed in God, but not that he had a son.”
She said he stopped eating meat. She said it was “strange.” She said he was paranoid.
Patricia Loyd said she loves her son and will always be in his life.
“Do you find Markeith to be loving?” Lenamon said.
“Yes,” she said.
The jury was summoned into the courtroom.
Markeith Loyd’s mother, Patricia Loyd took the stand.
Terry Lenamon asked her whether she had any ailment that would affect her memory. She said, "Yes."
"I have had a cerebral aneurysm," Patricia Loyd said.
Patricia Loyd described Loyd's father, Robert Loyd, as a violent person.
She said Robert Loyd was in the military, and that he was abusive. She described one incident where Loyd’s father slapped her while she held Markeith Loyd. Patricia also said Robert Loyd hit her in the eye.
Patricia Loyd told the court Robert Loyd died when Markeith Loyd was about 3 years old.
She said she disciplined her children. She also said Markeith was kidnapped and severely beaten when he was 17 years old.
“He looked like the Elephant Man,” she said.
She said she called the police, but they didn’t take it seriously.
Lenamon asked if the incident changed him. She said, “Yes.”
“He didn’t trust the police no more,” she said.
The defense took its turn to question Herb.
Attorney Terry Lenamon confused the former officer and the court with questions about Herb's 1998 incident report, involving Loyd's battery charge.
It came down to Lenamon quoting Herb's details from the 1998 report, without clarifying what he was talking about.
“I don’t understand your question,” Herb answered repeatedly.
Judge Leticia Marques also seemed confused as the prosecution objected, to which she replied, “sustained.”
Marques asked the defense attorney where he was going with the questioning.
After a brief discussion at the bench, the prosecution rested and Marques called for a 10-minute break.
Markeith Loyd sat calmly in the courtroom with his hair tied back and wearing a shirt and tie.
Former Orlando police officer Todd Herb testified that Loyd battered him while he was a law enforcement officer in 1998.
Herb testified that while he was on patrol in Parramore in 1998, he encountered a blue Plymouth without a tag. Herb said the driver, later identified as Markeith Loyd, pulled away from the patrol car.
“It was at a high rate of speed pulling away from me,” Herb said. “I pulled behind the vehicle to initiate a traffic stop.”
Herb said the driver got out of the Plymouth and began to walk away.
Herb said he asked Loyd twice for his license, but Loyd insisted he wasn’t driving, even though Herb saw him in the driver’s side of the car.
Herb said he tried to place Loyd under arrest, but Loyd pulled away and resisted, saying his wrist hurt. Loyd then punched the officer in the face, Herb said.
The state called its first witness, probation office supervisor, David Kinard. Kinard talked about the procedures at the probation office, including fingerprinting and how the department operates.
"Markeith Loyd has a significant delusional disorder with a psychiatric spectrum," defense attorney Terry Lenamon said.
Lenamon said Loyd is not insane, but that the disorder is a consideration that must be put in play as the jury looks back at the events that transpired before and after the Sade Dixon shooting.
"He is still a mentally ill man," Lenamon said.
Lenamon said all of this needs to be considered before Loyd can be sentenced.
"This is about whether you are going to sanction the killing of a human being without considering all of the facts," Lenamon said.
Defense attorney Terry Lenamon is telling the jury that growing up in Pine Hills and Carver Shores, Loyd had two choices: "You either rob or you deal drugs."
At 16, Lenamon said Loyd was beat up "horribly" by a drug dealer.
At 22, Lenamon said that's when Loyd got his first adult felony conviction and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
Defense attorney Terry Lenamon is reminding the jury "you are never required to vote for death."
He said no matter what the jury decides to recommend, Loyd will die in jail. They jury, he said, will just decide "whether the government, the state of Florida, take his life."
Lenamon said Loyd was raised in Carver Shores by a single mother. Lenamon said Loyd's father was abusive to his mother, and left her when Loyd was young.
"He was helping raise his brothers and sisters and surviving. He would steal food so they could eat, and at some point later on started selling drugs," Lenamon said.
Prosector Ric Ridgway is laying out the testimony that the jury can expect to hear today.
He told the jury that when aggravating factors are weighed against mitigating factors presented during the penalty phase, they should find "the death penalty is the appropriate punishment."
Markeith Loyd is back in court as the penalty phase of his murder trial is set to get underway.
Testimony is scheduled to begin Monday morning in the penalty phase of Markeith Loyd’s first murder trial.
Loyd’s lawyer said issued the following statement after Loyd was convicted last week:
“I think the death penalty is the wrong message from our community. I am hopeful the jury will give Markeith life in prison.”
Meanwhile, prosecutor Ric Ridgway declined to comment.
“I haven't commented so far, I'm not gonna start now," he said.
According to WFTV legal analyst Bil Schadffer, the death penalty for Loyd is a real possibility.
"The time it took the jury to deliver this verdict and the force of this verdict, guilty on every single count, tells me it's going to be a job for this defense to convince the jury not to recommend death," he said.
It took the jury four and a half hours to deliberate before handing down guilty verdicts last Wednesday.
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