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Florida State Attorney will not seek maximum penalty for murderer of pregnant police officer


March 16–Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for Markeith Loyd, the man accused of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer who tried to arrest him, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Wednesday.

Mina said he spoke with Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala and was “extremely upset” by the decision.

Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala.
Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala.

“I have seen the video of Markeith Loyd executing Lt. Debra Clayton while she lay defenseless on the ground. She was given no chance to live,” Mina said in a statement. “A cop killer — who also killed his pregnant girlfriend — should not be given that chance. The heinous crimes that he committed in our community are the very reason we have the death penalty as an option under the law.”

Ayala could not be reached Wednesday night.

The president of Orlando’s police union decried the decision as well.

Slain Orlando police officer Debra Clayton.
Slain Orlando police officer Debra Clayton.

“If this is information is correct, this would be an epic injustice to the family of Lt. Debra Clayton as well as every single Law Enforcement Officer in the 9th Judicial Circuit,” Shawn Dunlap, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25. “The death penalty is the law of the land in the State of Florida and I believe that if there ever was a case for its use this would be the one.”

Loyd is accused of shooting Sade Dixon, his pregnant ex-girlfriend, outside her home on Dec. 13. He allegedly injured her brother and shot at other family members before fleeing.

On Jan. 9, a passer-by at the Walmart on John Young Parkway spotted him and alerted Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton, who was paroling the area. Clayton approached and tried to arrest him. Loyd allegedly started shooting, hitting Clayton’s thigh.

She shot back and then retreated. Loyd followed her, police said, shooting and killing her while she was on the ground. He then escaped.

Loyd was arrested about a week later after a region-wide manhunt. He has been in the Orange County Jail since mid-January, and has been acting as his own attorney in court appearances.

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  1. I’m appalled and angered by this decision. If there’s any crime that deserves the death penalty be given out it’s this one. Something needs to be done with this new State Attorney. She lacks proper decision making skills.

  2. The police officer was not pregnant. Loyd killed his pregnant girlfriend and was wanted. Lt. Clayton was attempting to make contact with him based off a witness seeing him in the store and he then shot and killed her.


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