ORLANDO, Fla. - For the first time since his wife Lt. Debra Clayton was murdered, Seth Clayton is speaking out.
"I'm glad this is over. It's been a long time coming, five years almost," Clayton said.
He’s thankful the jury has spoken.
"It was emotional. It was also bittersweet. All in all it's not going to bring Debra back," Clayton added.
He proudly wore a medallion with his wife’s face on it after the sentencing verdict.
"We had this made when she was killed. It just represents, lets me know, lets everyone know that she's still close to my heart."
Lt. Clayton was murdered on the couple’s first wedding anniversary.
"I can't put into words what she meant to me. And to be taken away like that so suddenly is hard for anybody," Clayton explained.
The pain of Lt. Clayton’s loss is still very real for Francine Thomas, her first cousin and best friend.
"I have sobbed for 1794 days internally. Today justice was served," Thomas told reporters.
The Lieutenant’s sister feels the same.
"I love my sister and I know that justice was served today," Ashley Thomas said.
They’re hoping the jury’s vote brings a sense of relief to Sade Dixon’s family as well.
"To know we got him. We got him now. We finally got him," Clayton’s sister, Anita Young said.
Law enforcement leaders back the jury’s sentencing recommendation too. "I am extremely grateful the jury has come to this decision of death for Markeith Loyd," Sheriff John Mina said.
He didn’t mince his words.
"I'm glad that we don't have to see him again. I'm not going to be a s nice as others. He is a narcissistic socio path who terrorized this community and killed Lt. Debra Clayton," Sheriff Mina said.
He stresses that Loyd not only took Lt. Clayton from her family, he also took her from the community. He said that Lt. Clayton made it her mission to help people by bridging the gap between police and the community. He feels Loyd will finally pay for what he took.
"In this case, I'm grateful he's going to spend 23 hours a day in a very small cell, thinking about what he's done, thinking about the lives he's taken and the people he can no longer see. Justice has been served," Sheriff Mina said.
At one point during the trial, Loyd apologized to Seth Clayton for killing his "queen." Clayton tells FOX 35 News he did not accept that apology.
"It didn't mean anything. It didn't mean anything because he had every opportunity to walk away that day, and he didn't. He chose to do what he did," he said.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon echoed that sentiment. He says it’s time for Loyd to finally be held accountable for his actions. And, he’s got a message for Loyd.
"He needs to repent. He was responsible for everything he did. He knowingly committed the offenses that yielded this outcome," Chief Rolon said.
Spencer hearings provide defendants with the opportunity to appeal directly to the judge regarding recommendations by a jury. Although Loyd told the judge he wanted to waive his Spencer hearing, the judge did not accept that. She set a date of Jan. 14, 2022, when she will hear more evidence from the defense and will ultimately decide if she accepts the jury’s recommendation to sentence Loyd to death.
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