Jury recommends death penalty for convicted murderer Markeith Loyd

A jury has reached a decision in the sentencing trial for Markeith Loyd. 

They have unanimously recommended the death penalty for Markeith Loyd.

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In Nov., Markeith Loyd was convicted of the first-degree murder of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton.

Jurors were tasked with deciding between life in prison or the death penalty. All 12 jurors had to be in agreement for the latter penalty.

Loyd's sentencing phase began last week.

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The prosecution gave their closing arguments on Tuesday morning. The defense completed theirs after a break in the courtroom. 

The jury began deliberating shortly after and reached a verdict shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The judge will not rule in agreement until a hearing at a later date. 

Reactions have begun to pour in from the Central Florida community.

For example, the Orlando Police Department tweeted a tribute to fallen Lt. Clayton, stating that, "we will always remember our friend and coworker, and will do our best to live her legacy."

Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was the Orlando Police Chief at the time of Lt. Clayton's murder, also tweeted about the death penalty recommendation from the jury.

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"I am grateful that the jury has seen to it that justice will be served. And I want to thank the prosecutors, who have worked relentlessly on this case for years," he said. "Nothing can erase the pain so many of us feel about the fact that Debra was murdered in cold blood as she worked to protect this community. We will always be here for her family, and she will never, ever be forgotten."

He added, "But today, is some relief in knowing that we can move forward and never have to hear the name Markeith Loyd again."

The current Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón also released a statement after the jury reached their recommendation, stating in part that, "Lieutenant Clayton's loved ones and the entire OPD family waited for the day where the defendant would be held accountable for his heinous crimes. He will now face the highest penalty provided by law."

Loyd was previously convicted of first-degree murder for killing his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child. The jury in that case recommended he be sentenced to life in prison.

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