Penalty phase in Markeith Loyd murder trial delayed to December

The penalty phase in the Markeith Loyd murder trial has been delayed.  Originally scheduled to begin on Saturday, it will now start in early December at the Orange County Courthouse.

The delay came after Circuit Judge Leticia Marques ruled that Loyd will be allowed to testify about his apprehension and alleged beating from the officers during his arrest on Jan. 17,  2017.  Loyd lost an eye during the incident in which he claims was the result of excessive use of force.  

Judge Marques pushed the sentencing back to Dec. 6 after she admitted to dropping a bomb on prosecutors.  All along Loyd’s defense attorney has fought for Loyd to be able to testify about what happened to his left eye.  The judge did not allow that in trial and even reminded Loyd about that on the day before he testified. 


While going over jury instructions for the sentencing phase, the judge changed her mind.  

"They’re judging the person in here today…and not just the person that committed the crime but the person he is now," Judge Marques said.  "I’m struggling to believe that beating that he took that resulted in the loss of his eye does not form part of Mr. Loyd’s thought process now, his character."

Judge Marques also decided that she will allow the defense to play a police helicopter video showing Loyd being kicked in the face at the time he was being taken into custody by law enforcement.  

Both the Orlando Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement justified the officers’ use of force in that situation and state prosecutors reviewed the video and opted not to press charges against any of the officers involved.  

The judge admitted the video does not make the police look good.  

Prosecutor Ryan Williams made it clear he does not agree with the judge’s decision.  

"I don’t blame them as council for the defendant wants to introduce this is because it will inflame the jurors and make them upset at law enforcement, but it has nothing to do with Mr. Loyd’s character or background or circumstances of the offense. And all of the case law references that," Williams said.

RELATED: Markeith Loyd found guilty of first-degree murder of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton

The jury will have to decide if Loyd should live or die.  All 12 jurors must agree on the death penalty, otherwise, he will get life in prison. 

Earlier this week, Loyd was convicted on all five counts in his second murder trial in the killing of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton, including first-degree murder. 

  • Guilty: First-degree murder with a firearm of a law enforcement officer
  • Guilty: Attempted first-degree murder with a firearm of a law enforcement officer
  • Guilty: Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
  • Guilty: Carjacking with a firearm
  • Guilty: Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Loyd shot Lt. Clayton more than once as he tried to escape the police after killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.

For the first time ever, Lt. Clayton's sister talked about the case. She said Clayton was a mother and wife who cared about her community.

She says she wants to see Loyd pay with his life.

"I'm a bit relieved but it’s not over yet.  My sister definitely deserves justice in the right way.  I know once she gets justice in the right way, she will rest peacefully," Clayton's sister told the media outside the courthouse. 

RELATED: Loyd lashes out following closing arguments in trial for murder of Lt. Debra Clayton

When asked if she wanted the death penalty for Loyd, she said "I want the death penalty."

If the jury is unanimous on the death sentence, then the judge must sign off on that.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina – who was the Orlando Police Chief at the time, did not holding back with his reaction after the verdict was read, tweeting: "COP KILLER GUILTY OF MURDERING LT. DEBRA CLAYTON."

The Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón also released a statement on Twitter, which read in part "the guilty verdict reached today is a step towards justice for Lieutenant Debra Clayton, her family, and the members of the Orlando Police Department, the community, and all who loved our hero." 


The jury will be brought back into court Saturday morning as scheduled.  At that time, Judge Marques will announce that she has delayed sentencing and that they will no longer be sequestered and can go home. However, they will need to report back to finish their jury duty in a month's time.

Judge Marques made it clear jurors will be sent home with strict instructions that they are still not to discuss this case with anyone or look at any media coverage on the case. 

Prosecutors let the judge know they will be doing research and filing motions in response to her decision.   

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates on this story.