A Florida man accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend and a police officer near Orlando appeared in court last week, using what a judge described as a “sovereign citizen” line of defense.
When Markeith D. Loyd, 41, attempted to use legal maneuvers commonly used by sovereign citizens, who believe the government has no jurisdiction over them, Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten of Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit was having none of it.
“For the record, I want to state that I am Markeith Loyd, flesh and blood,” the double murder suspect told the court. “I’m a human being. I’m not a fictitious person. I’m not a corporation.”
When Loyd suggested the charges against him were brought by the court, the judge said they, in fact, were filed by state prosecutors.
“Therefore, I am going to tell you the fact, I am in due court, I accept the charges’ value,” the suspect said, “and I want to use my UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) financial statement, my number, to write these charges off.”
Loyd then refused to enter a plea, shouting to the court, “Y’all can’t do nothing to me,” The Washington Post reported.
The judge said in court that the defendants “wants to talk about the UCC and corporate status, which is a position that certain citizens that are sometimes called sovereign citizens take in courts of law, oftentimes misguided.”
“It is not the first time the court has heard that position,” the judge said.
Loyd ignored the judge when asked if he wanted a court-appointed attorney.
“I don’t care, I’m representing myself,” he told the court. “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.”
Loyd faces a host of serious charges, including first-degree murder with a firearm, unlawful killing of an unborn child, attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, two counts of attempted felony murder and other lesser counts.
He is accused of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, on Dec. 13 in Orlando, then fleeing. Authorities say the fugitive fatally shot Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton as she attempted to arrest him on Jan. 9 at a Walmart in the Pine Hills area west of Orlando.
A sheriff’s deputy responding to the shooting was struck and killed by a sport-utility vehicle and another deputy was fired upon while attempting to stop Loyd’s getaway vehicle. He is accused of wearing a bulletproof vest, in violation of Florida law, during his encounters with police.
Clayton was one of the first officers who responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last June, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The highly regarded, 17-year veteran had started a non-profit organization for female victims of violence and once took a group of children on a tour of Washington, D.C.
Sovereign citizens — labeled as a significant domestic terrorism threat by the FBI a half-decade ago — have been involved in several fatal shootings involving police officers. Last July three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were fatally shot by a sovereign citizen.
In Florida, Loyd was captured after a massive manhunt several days later. Prosecutors have not decided if they will seek the death penalty, the Orlando newspaper reported.