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Jury selection begins in Orlando police officer slaying trial

Markeith Loyd is charged with first-degree murder in 2017 shooting death.
Markeith Loyd, suspected of fatally shooting a Florida police officer, attends his initial court appearance Jan. 19, 2017, at the Orange County Jail, in Orlando. [Red Huber | Orlando Sentinel via AP, Pool]
Markeith Loyd, suspected of fatally shooting a Florida police officer, attends his initial court appearance Jan. 19, 2017, at the Orange County Jail, in Orlando. [Red Huber | Orlando Sentinel via AP, Pool]
Published Oct. 10

ORLANDO — Jury selection has begun for the trial of a Florida man accused of killing a police officer after he fatally shot his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Markeith Loyd, 46, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2017 shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton. Loyd has already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the killing of his former girlfriend, Sade Dixon.

Loyd again could face the death penalty if convicted in Clayton’s slaying. He has pleaded not guilty.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that jury selection began Friday with an initial pool of 240 people. Circuit Judge Leticia Marques said once selected jurors will be sequestered at a local hotel to avoid seeing or reading news about the case.

“When jurors get information from outside the courtroom, you are violating everyone’s right to a fair and open examination of the evidence,” Marques told potential jurors.

Prosecutors say Loyd fatally shot Clayton Jan. 9, 2017, at a Walmart while she tried to arrest him for killing Dixon a few weeks earlier.

The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.