ORLANDO, Fla. - Before testimony began on Thursday in the State of Florida versus Markeith Loyd, Judge Leticia Marques pulled four jurors aside, one by one.
Loyd is accused of fatally shooting Lt. Debra Clayton in 2017 as she tried to arrest him outside of a Walmart near Princeton St. and John Young Parkway. He had been on the run after the murder of his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon.
Judge Marques said on Wednesday night, one of the deputies who watches over the jurors while sequestered at a hotel reported that the four were discussing some things that happened in the courtroom earlier in the day.
"Deputies overheard the following comments: judge is getting frustrated. Long breaks, sidebars, everything keeps stopping. Defense is over him, Loyd and his outburst. The deputies immediately intervened. The supervisor was called," Judge Marques said to the state and the defense before calling those jurors in.
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The judge asked the first juror she called in what was said.
"Someone felt, I don't know if I want to say your frustration with interruptions and things like that," the juror said. "Can you tell me what was said?" the judge asked. "Yeah, there was a comment about yourself being frustrated about the audio usage, microphone usage by one specific individual," said the juror said.
The other three jurors answered the judge’s questions in a similar fashion. All four swore they were not discussing testimony and that the conversation did not cloud their views of the trial.
Just before lunch time Thursday, prosecutors rested the case after calling their last few witnesses to the stand in their case against Loyd.
Jurors again heard from the lead detective in the case and a crime scene investigator. A weapons expert was the last witness to take the stand for the State. He told the jury that Loyd used the same gun to kill both Dixon and Lt. Clayton.
Loyd’s defense team will start presenting their case Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.
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