Orange County

Convicted cop killer Markeith Loyd takes the stand before judge rules on sentencing

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Convicted cop killer Markeith Loyd testified in court on Friday before a judge rules on his sentencing.

An Orange County judge will soon decide if she will follow a jury’s recommendation and sentence him to death.


Loyd was found guilty last year in the 2017 murder of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

“I never meant your queen any harm,” Loyd said in court, referring to Clayton. “...I believe the police was out to kill me.”

READ: Markeith Loyd to be sentenced by judge next week

Loyd said on the stand that he hears the voices of God and the devil, but only listens to God. He maintained that he tried to turn himself in to the police twice before he was arrested.

“Walmart never had to happen,” Loyd said.

Watch his full testimony below:

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

Friday’s hearing allowed both sides to come before the judge and present evidence that could change the way Loyd is sentenced.

Clayton’s sisters, cousin and niece all took the stand saying what the loss of Clayton meant to them and the community.

“I lost my sibling, and it’s a different type of pain,” Clayton’s sister, Ashley Thomas, said. It’s like when your sibling dies, a piece of you dies too.”

Loyd’s defense filed a motion to continue the hearing citing COVID-19 concerns, which caused issues with securing witnesses.

READ: Markeith Loyd’s defense attorney asking for sentencing delay, $20K for additional expert

The judge ultimately denied the motion to continue.

Loyd’s defense argues the state’s closing arguments that “life in prison was no punishment at all” was inappropriate and pressured the jury to impact the verdict.

READ: Orlando remembers the life of police Lt. Debra Clayton 5 years after her passing

Loyd’s sister also took the witness stand. She said Loyd told her he could hear voices and see the devil.

The state brought on a psychologist, who said Loyd suffers from a major mental illness.

The hearing was an opportunity for Loyd’s defense to present evidence to the judge that could impact the sentence.

Photos: Markeith Loyd through the years

Both sides now wait at least sic and a half weeks for Loyd’s sentencing in March.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

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.