State to pursue death penalty against accused cop killer Markeith Loyd

- A state prosecutor has filed paperwork signaling his intent to pursue the death penalty in the Markeith Loyd case, as it relates to the killing of an Orlando police officer.  

Loyd is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Scott appointed Brad King, state attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit, to handle the case of Loyd, after Ninth Judicial Circuit prosecutor Aramis Ayala refused to recuse herself after declaring she would not pursue the death penalty for any capital cases during her time in office.

The decision by Ayala left many stunned and sparked an official rebuke from Gov. Scott, who quickly reassigned the case to King, an outspoken supporter of the death penalty.

"I'm prepared for just about anything," King said shortly after the case was reassigned to his office. "My job, as far as the governor's appointment, is to prosecute the case. That is what I intend to do."

King, who has taken other first-degree murder cases before, said it was "just another case" in his mind. 

When asked about his thoughts on Ayala's decision not to seek the death penalty, he said he had "no thoughts on that."

At the time, King said he would consider the death penalty for Loyd, by evaluating the facts of a case as they pertain to aggregating circumstances.

"If there are aggravating circumstances in the case that warrant the death penalty, I'll seek it," he said.  "I've sought and had imposed the death penalty in over a dozen cases. This one is no different."

In court documents filed on Tuesday, King said the State can prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Loyd murdered Lt. Clayton "in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner, without any pretense of moral or legal justification."

A status hearing is scheduled for April 17 before Circuit Judge Frederick Lauten with a trial expected to begin sometime in June.

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