ORLANDO, Fla. — Markeith Loyd will receive the death penalty in the killing of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton, Judge Leticia Marques ruled Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • A judge agreed with a jury's decision that Markeith Loyd should receive the death penalty

  • Loyd last year was convicted of killing Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton in 2017

  • Defense attorneys had urged the judge to overrule the recommendation

  • Orlando area law enforcement reacted swiftly to the ruling

Last month, jurors agreed that Loyd should be sentenced to death for murdering Clayton in 2017. But the final decision was up to the Circuit Court judge.

Orlando Police and Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was Orlando's police chief when Clayton was killed, reacted soon after the decision.

Defense attorneys last month called witnesses, including Loyd’s sisters, and presented their evidence and arguments to Marques as they asked her to overrule the jury’s death penalty recommendation.

Questions about Loyd’s competency were raised by his attorneys prior to his sentencing by a jury and at the end of his Jan. 14 Spencer hearing, which is a proceeding in Florida courts that gives defendants the opportunity to further plead their case against the imposed or suggested sentencing. Several times during his trial, Loyd had reacted emotionally in the courtroom.

But the judge decided to schedule the sentencing, saying in her court order, "The defendant has a factual understanding of the proceedings in this case. None of the experts has testified otherwise.”

Loyd was already serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and their unborn child, which prompted the deadly encounter with Clayton at the parking lot of Walmart at Princeton Street and John Young Parkway in Orlando on Jan. 9, 2017.

The state pushed for the death penalty, saying Loyd believed himself to be above the law.

The defense maintained that Loyd had a delusional fear the police were out to kill him.