For nine days in January, Markeith Loyd put Central Florida through hell. According to police reports, on January 9th, he shot and killed an Orlando police officer Debra Clayton. He then eluded law enforcement until January 17th when he was finally captured.
Last week State Attorney Aramis Ayala shocked Central Florida with her decision not to seek the death penalty for Loyd, and then doubled down in stating she would not seek the death penalty in any case she prosecutes in Orange or Osceola counties.
Ayala explained her reasoning, “Number one—the death penalty has no public safety benefit. Number two—the death penalty does not increase safety for law enforcement officers. Number three—the death penalty generally is not a deterrent.”
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said he was “extremely upset.” He said Loyd should face the death penalty if convicted of killing Clayton and his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.
Loyd faces two first-degree murder counts and other charges in the deaths of Sade and Clayton.
“The heinous crimes that he committed in our community are the very reason that we have the death penalty as an option under the law,” Mina’s statement said.
Was Ayala’s decision correct? Do the crimes Loyd is accused of rise to the level of a capital offense?
A reader poll: