ORLANDO, Fla. — On Wednesday at the Orange County Courthouse, the defense for convicted cop killer Markeith Loyd laid out its case, using testimony from family members to highlight redeeming acts in his life.
What You Need To Know
- Earlier this month, Markeith Loyd was found guilty of killing Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton
- Members of his family were called to testify Wednesday by the defense
- RELATED: Defense asks jury to spare the life of twice-convicted murder, Markeith Loyd
Dana Loyd said she remembers her younger brother, Markeith, stealing food from grocery stores and selling drugs. But she says he did those things to help provide for his siblings, who were growing up in a poor, single-mother household.
“Even when he was young he’s always — if he had it, everybody had it,” she said.
In fact, members of Loyd’s family said Loyd often invited people into their home who needed help.
“He would bring them to our house and make sure they were fed, because after all at the time, he was making sure our lights stayed on,” said his younger sister, Tonya Loyd.
Markeith Loyd is facing the death penalty, or life in prison, after being convicted of murdering Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton in the parking lot of a Walmart in 2017.
Authorities were looking for him after he shot and killed his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child — crimes he would later be convicted for. He is currently serving a life sentence for those deaths.
On day three of the penalty phase of the trial on Wednesday, Loyd's aunt, Lorraine Harp, testified by phone. She said Loyd showed up at her house as a teen after he was kidnapped and beaten up, which caused him to became an angry person after that.
She said she plans to continue to support Loyd in prison.
The mother of Loyd's teenage friend who was kidnapped and beaten up with him also testified by phone. She said Loyd was not as happy or outgoing after that incident.
The mother of Loyd's teenage friend who was kidnapped and beaten up with him also testified by phone. She says Loyd wasn't as happy or outgoing after incident.— Jeff Allen (@News13JeffAllen) December 1, 2021
When defense asked her if she would support Loyd and write to him in prison, she said yes.@MyNews13 #MarkeithLoyd
The defense brought in Loyd’s brother and some of his childhood friends on Tuesday.
Loyd’s defense attorneys also showed jurors police helicopter video of Loyd’s eventual capture. The footage showed him crawling out of a home before the camera panned away when it appeared to show an officer kicking Loyd.
Loyd lost an eye during the arrest, but a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation later concluded the officers involved were justified in their use of force.
But before the prosecution rested Tuesday, jurors heard the powerful testimony came from Clayton’s cousin.
“She wanted to educate the public on interacting with law enforcement, and she wanted people to understand that police aren’t bad people,” said Francine Thomas about Clayton. “I am still overwhelmed with grief every day, I still ache.”
The jury is expected to start deliberating Loyd’s sentence later this week.