ORLANDO, Fla. — After about an hour of deliberation, a jury on Wednesday afternoon recommended life in prison for convicted killer Markeith Loyd in the slaying of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.

Members of Loyd's defense team nodded their heads and gave Loyd a pat on the back as the 12-member jury's recommendation was read.

In order for a death recommendation, jurors must have had to be unanimous in that decision.

Loyd told his legal team and then Judge Letitia Marques that he did not want to be in the courtroom when the jury issued its recommendation, waiving his right to be present.

But Loyd changed his mind and returned the courtroom at 12:30 p.m., saying he didn't care what the jury thought of him.

Loyd’s lead defense attorney Terence Lenamon said he’s happy about the jury’s decision.

Lenamon also addressed Loyd’s complaints during the Sade Dixon case about how he was being legally represented.

“Lawyers make mistakes all the time, and I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes in this case, so I invite him to let the court know about those mistakes,” Lenamon said. “But I love Markeith, he’s an important part of my life.”​

During final arguments, lead prosecutor Ric Ridgway reminded the jury that when they were being questioned during jury selection, they all replied that they would be able to consider a death sentence for Loyd.

Dixon, who was three months pregnant, was shot dead in December 2016. A month later, while a wanted man, he shot and killed Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton, authorities say.

Ridgway went over the killing and told the jury that Loyd does not have any type of mental illness.

"We are here because of the decisions Markeith Loyd made, actions he took, and the results of those actions," Ridgway said.

Defense attorneys pleaded to the jury to give their client life in prison without parole. They mentioned Loyd's tough upbringing and his state of mind on the day of Dixon's slaying, claiming Loyd was reacting to a threat made by Dixon and that her brother would beat up Loyd.

"The evidence here supports the state of mind that is consistent with someone who has delusional disorder and post-traumatic stress," Loyd lawyer Terence Lenamon said.

The jury began deliberating before 11 a.m. Wednesday.

On Monday, Loyd's mother and several siblings testified that he came out of federal prison wanting to be a better person, but also with an extreme paranoia about law enforcement. Loyd had a federal drug conviction.

Dr. Marvin Dunn, a psychologist, told the jury that Loyd grew up like "a weed in a manure patch" without anyone giving him proper guidelines. Dunn says Loyd is psychotic and a paranoid schizophrenic with developmental disorders. A state psychologist's testimony contradicted that.

The state reminded jurors that Loyd killed Dixon and assaulted an Orlando Police Department officer 20 years ago.

On Tuesday, members of Loyd's family testified on his behalf. His daughter Kianna testified she still needs her father in her life and that she would visit him in prison.

This was the first of two trials for Loyd. His trial in Clayton's death is expected to begin next year.

Live updates from our reporters covering the trial


Timeline: Major Moments in the Markeith Loyd Investigation