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Jurors Struggle To Overlook Past Conviction in New Markeith Loyd Murder Trial

The trial of Markeith Loyd in the 2017 killing of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton began recently. Loyd is accused of fatally shooting Clayton at a Walmart after she tried to arrest him for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.

Between the time of Dixon’s death and Loyd’s arrest, defense attorneys say he was paranoid and delusional. Loyd claimed Dixon had a gun during the tussle, but news reports purposefully left out that detail. Loyd was allegedly convinced law enforcement was out to kill him.

Less than a month after Dixon’s killing, Lt. Clayton encountered Loyd at a Walmart and a shootout ensued. Clayton was shot four times; Loyd was shot in the chest but protected by a bulletproof vest.

This is the second time Loyd faces the death penalty. In 2019, Loyd was convicted of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and their unborn child, but jurors recommended life in prison without parole.

In addition to delays caused by the pandemic, this trial faces challenges in jury selection—jurors are aware of the previous conviction and are being questioned about their ability to put that knowledge aside for this new case.

In a recent interview on Law & Crime Network, Denver defense lawyer Jeffrey Wolf discussed the difficult situation these jurors face in the courtroom.

“It’s not that [jury members] are trying to lie, it’s not that they’re dishonest people, that is a really intimidating circumstance…you’re sitting in the courtroom and the judge is telling you that you need to do this and that you’re going to be instructed to do it and then asking if you will…how many people will look the judge in the eye and say: no I won’t do what you tell me to do. It’s rare…”

Watch the videos above for more commentary from Jeffrey Wolf and details about this ongoing case.