Throughout the Markeith Loyd murder trial in Orange County court, WESH 2 News has turned to prominent Orlando defense attorney David Haas for his opinion on the case.
During the jury selection phase, Haas noted that the prosecutors would want to find out what the potential jurors thought of the insanity defense because that was the strategy Loyd’s attorneys had indicated they would use to defend him and, according, to Haas, possibly their best option because of the evidence in the case.
As expected, the defense claimed Loyd was insane when he shot and killed Orlando police lieutenant Debra Clayton in 2017 and was only defending himself after she fired at him first. However, as Haas pointed out to WESH 2 News, no matter who fired first, the video the jurors saw of Loyd shooting Clayton would be more important in their deliberations.
As the prosecution began their rebuttal, Haas pointed out another issue for the defense: the fact that Loyd had opened the door for the prosecution to focus on his previous conviction for killing his ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, by talking about it on the stand. In Haas’s words, “It’s never good when a jury hears about multiple convictions for murder.”
The jury did indeed find Loyd guilty. He was convicted on five charges, including first degree murder of a police officer, attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, carjacking with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Prosecutors are now seeking the death penalty and the defense is trying to convince the jury to spare Loyd’s life, saying he suffers from mental illnesses and went through years of abuse.
Attorney David Haas continues to watch this important sentencing phase of the case closely. However, predicting the jury’s decision is difficult, since all of the jurors must be in favor of the death penalty in order to sentence Loyd to death.