ORLANDO, Fla. — A man convicted of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend and then gunning down and executing a police officer while he was on the run was given the death sentence by a judge on Thursday, according to a reports.
In November 2021, Markeith Loyd, 46, was found guilty for the January 2017 murder of Lt. Debra Clayton of the Orlando Police Department. The jury unanimously recommended a death sentence during a hearing in December.
Consequently, Circuit Judge Leticia Marques announced her decision to sentence Loyd to death during a brief hearing Thursday morning, WTOP News reported.
Loyd reportedly went on one of his typical rants as he was escorted from the courtroom following the sentencing, a room filled with many of Clayton’s peers.
Loyd was previously sentenced to life in prison for murdering Sade Dixon, his ex-girlfriend.
Loyd was on the run for killing Dixon when a shopper at a Walmart spotted him Jan. 9, 2017. According to prosecutors, the witness notified Clayton, 42, who was also at the store.
As Clayton tried to detain Loyd, she was shot four times and killed during an exchange of gunfire with the suspect outside the store.
Prosecutors said during trial that the fatal shot was fired as Loyd stood over Clayton in the parking lot.
“Although nothing can undo the heartache created by the defendant’s heinous actions, we hope that this brings solace to our community, knowing a dangerous murderer will face the highest penalty provided by the law,” Orlando police Chief Orlando Rolón said in a statement, according to WTOP News.
Clayton was a sergeant at the time of her death, but was promoted posthumously.
In a related tragedy, motorcycle Deputy Norman Lewis of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office was struck and killed during the manhunt for Lloyd following Clayton’s murder, Law Officer reported.
OCSO offered the following details regarding Lewis’ death.
“Law enforcement from all over Central Florida, to include Motor Officer-Deputy First Class (DFC) Norman C. Lewis, had responded to the area of south central Orange County to a call regarding a shooting involving OPD Sgt. Debra Clayton, who confronted a murder suspect and was shot and killed while trying to make the apprehension.
“DFC Lewis, without hesitation, immediately responded to the area when he heard the call for help and was part of the police presence searching for the dangerous suspect, who had fled the scene and fired on another deputy. DFC Lewis maintained his mobility on his motorcycle while assisting with the ground search or any other need. As DFC Lewis was traveling southbound on Pine Hills Road a vehicle driving from the opposite direction, turned left into DFC Lewis’ path of travel causing a collision. DFC Lewis was transported to the trauma unit, but sadly succumbed to his injuries.”
Lewis was a University of Central Florida alumnus and played football for the Knights, according to deputies.