Markeith Loyd sentenced to death in killing of Orlando police Lt Debra Clayton

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A judge has sentenced convicted cop killer Markeith Loyd to death for the 2017 murder of Orlando police Lieutenant Debra Clayton.

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Loyd lashed out verbally in court after his death sentence was handed down.

It was an emotional day in the courtroom. Channel 9′s Shannon Butler said you could feel the tension in the room as everyone waited for the judges decision, then the relief when it was over.

It has been more than five years since Loyd killed Lt. Debra Clayton.

The courthouse was filled with law enforcement officers who were there the night their friend was gunned down.

READ: Convicted cop killer Markeith Loyd involved in jailhouse altercation

Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was the police chief when Clayton was murdered, did not hold back.

He said everyone from Clayton’s family to the community has suffered — now it’s Loyd’s turn.

“Now it’s time for Markeith Loyd to suffer for 23 hours a day in a cell not knowing when that death sentence is going to come, but it’s going to come,” he said.

Both Clayton’s family and Loyd’s family sat in silence as the death sentence was announced. A gasp from one of Clayton’s cousins was the only sound heard after the decision.

Loyd was stoic as he learned his fate.

READ: Who was Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton?

But after court, a usually matter-of-fact prosecutor was choked up.

“I think the bottom line is Lt. Clayton was a special person, and I think the jurors recognized that and the verdict was on her behalf,” Ryan Williams said.

Neither Loyd’s family nor his attorney spoke on Thursday.

Clayton’s family thanked everyone for the work they have put in for the last five years.

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

Their pain is still evident all these years later. They can finally start to move on.

“Today I felt her presence and I know she can rest and hopefully just heal from here,” Clayton’s family said.

There will no doubt be appeals in the case.

PHOTOS: Jury recommends death sentence for Markeith Loyd

Loyd is back in the Orange County Jail, waiting for his transfer to prison.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.