Judge Fred Lauten denied Orlando murder suspect Markeith Loyd’s request to add Miami attorney Terence Lenamon as co-counsel for his defense on Monday.
Loyd is accused of the shooting death of both Orlando police officer Debra Clayton and his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon. The 41-year-old male evaded arrest for more than a week and was only found after law enforcement conducted a massive manhunt. Loyd also has a lengthy criminal history including convictions for cocaine possession and battery on an officer.
Roger Weeden, Loyd’s current attorney, argued that the suspect has a severe distrust of the justice system because of past interactions and needs to be represented by a lawyer he trusts if he is to mount a solid defense.
“We’re talking about his Sixth Amendment right, here, to effective assistance of counsel,” Weeden said.
Judge Lauten denied the request on the grounds that the state would be footing the bill for Loyd’s legal defense.
“A defendant who is indigent does not have a legal right to select his attorney,” Lauten said.
Lenamon is one of Florida’s highest-paid capital litigation attorneys.
Prosecutors asked the judge for a DNA sample from Loyd and that all graphic images or video of Clayton’s death be barred. Lauten granted both requests.
State Attorney Aramis Ayala originally stated, back in March, her intention to not seek the death penalty in any case including Loyd’s. This prompted Governor Rick Scott to issue an executive order transferring the Loyd case along with about two dozen other death penalty cases to another prosecutor.
Lauten set the trial’s start date as September 20th, 2018. Pre-trial will begin August 20th, 2018.
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