ORLANDO, Fla. — Jurors have found Markeith Loyd guilty in the murder of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton.

Clayton was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Walmart in January 2017.

Drawing upon strength they say they learned from Clayton, Anita Young and Ashley Thomas came to the courthouse to find out the fate of their sister's killer — Markeith Loyd. 

“I feel this is what she wanted us to do to be strong,” Thomas said, adding that she and her sister were relieved Loyd was found guilty.

“A big relief, but it’s not over yet,” she said. “My sister definitely deserves justice the right way, and I know that once she gets the justice that she deserves she’s going to rest peacefully.”

Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was Clayton’s police chief in January 2017, was in the courtroom for the verdict.

“From the minute I saw the video of Markeith Loyd executing Debra Clayton, I dreamed of this day,” said Mina. “It’s hard to get 12 people to agree on anything in this country, so I really started to have my doubts. But I thought about all the evidence that was there and continued to pray this would happen.”

Clayton’s sisters said they were thankful for the jury’s decision.

“Relieved that justice has been served, and that people will remember the good things that she brought to the community,” said Young.

Clayton’s sisters, Mina and current Orlando Police Chief Rolón have all said they believe the death penalty is the only fitting punishment for Loyd.

That’s something the jury who convicted him must now decide. They remain sequestered at a hotel with a couple of days off before the penalty phase in the trial begins on Saturday. 

Jurors also found Loyd guilty of attempted murder of a second police officer, carjacking a man while attempting to flee the shooting scene, aggravated assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

During the trial, jurors had several questions Tuesday, including a request for transcripts of the testimony of several key witnesses like Loyd himself.

The judge asked them to narrow down their request because of how long that could take to get done.


In closing arguments, the state pressed that Loyd was angry while on the run after killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child.

"Debra Clayton is dead because of anger. She is dead because a man valued his freedom more than he valued her life," State Prosecutor Ryan Williams said.

A crime scene investigator testified in Loyd's defense and said the Orlando Police Department did not properly document evidence that could be traced back to Clayton's gun.

His team claimed Clayton fired first and Loyd was defending himself.

"You have this beautiful police officer meaningful to the community and to her family, and they're hoping that will convince you," defense attorney Terence Lenamon said.

The state asserts Loyd intentionally shot Clayton after she was wounded on the ground, and the fourth shot was above her vest which killed her.

Loyd, 46, is already serving life in prison for the killing of Dixon and her unborn baby.