Alleged Fla. cop killer enters not guilty plea
The judge ordered an attorney be appointed to Markeith Loyd as stand-by counsel after he claimed the charges he faces were entered against a corporation created in his name
By Gal Tziperman Lotan
ORLANDO, Fla. — A judge on Wednesday entered not-guilty pleas on accused murderer Markeith Loyd’s behalf and ordered that an attorney be appointed as standby counsel after Loyd claimed the charges he faces were not entered against him, but against a corporation created in his name.
“For the record I wanna state that I am Markeith Loyd, flesh and blood human being,” he said in court Wednesday morning. “… MARKEITH LOYD, in all capital letters, that’s not me. That’s a corporation that was created at my birth that I do not accept. That’s not me.”
That argument is sometimes used by people who consider themselves sovereign citizens and believe they are not subject to the jurisdiction of any government.
“It’s oftentimes misguided, but it’s not the first time the court has heard that position,” Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Frederick Lauten told Loyd.
Loyd is accused in the Dec. 13 death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and the Jan. 9 killing of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton, who tried to arrest him at a Wal-Mart on Princeton Street and John Young Parkway.
Prosecutors said Wednesday they have not decided whether they will seek the death penalty.
Loyd was scheduled to enter a plea at an arraignment last week, but he asked that the hearing be delayed because he had not received a copy of the complaint that explains the charges and evidence against him. Lauten agreed and ordered the documents sent to him.
On Wednesday, the judge asked Loyd to enter a plea. When Loyd continued to talk about whether the charges apply to him, Lauten said he would enter not-guilty pleas on his behalf.
Then Lauten again began a hearing to determine whether defendants who want to represent themselves are competent to make the decision.
As he asked whether Loyd understood that he has the right to an attorney, Loyd brushed him off.
“I don’t care, I’m representing myself,” he said. “There ain’t nothing you all can do to me, nothing this courtroom can do to me. Worst thing that happened to me already happened … Strap me up right now.”
Lauten kept going, again explaining to Loyd what the benefits of hiring an attorney are and what disadvantages he may face if he represents himself.
He told Loyd they will have to communicate effectively if he wants to act as his own attorney and asked him to respect courtroom decorum after Loyd said he did not “give a [expletive]” about what the court does.
For the time being, Loyd will likely be allowed to represent himself, but the standby counsel can take over the defense if Loyd decides he no longer wants to represent himself or the judge rules him too disruptive.
Since some of the charges Loyd faces can carry the death penalty, Lauten asked him if he wanted the court to appoint an attorney to start collecting mitigating evidence — reasons presented to the jury that he should not be put to death. Loyd said he prefers to present the evidence himself, although the judge pointed out that he is in jail and is limited in what he can do while behind bars.
Lauten said he wants to do more research before deciding whether to appoint the standby attorney.
Loyd is due back in court for a status hearing March 20.
©2017 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)