It has been more than a month since Markeith Loyd was arrested and charged with killing his pregnant girlfriend and an Orlando, Fla., police officer, and this week he made an appearance in court during which he refused to enter a plea and claimed his status as a sovereign citizen.
According to the Washington Post, sovereign citizens are “a far-right anti-government group whose adherents believe they’re constitutionally exempt from U.S. laws.” The group has reportedly killed police officers, clogged courts with paperwork and refused to pay taxes.
The FBI labeled sovereign citizens “a domestic terrorist movement” in 2011.
Loyd, who has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, refused to enter a guilty or innocent plea when asked to do so by Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten of the 9th Judicial Circuit.
During a heated exchange, Loyd reportedly interrupted Lauten and told him that the government lacks jurisdiction to bring charges against him.
“For the record, I want to state that I am Markeith Loyd,” Loyd said. “Flesh and blood. I’m a human being. I’m not a fictitious person. I’m not a corporation.
“And therefore, I am going to tell you the fact, I am in due court, I accept the charges’ value,” Loyd added. “And I want to use my UCC [Uniform Commercial Code] financial statement, my number, to write these charges off.”
According to the Post, Loyd may have mistakenly been under the impression that the court had brought the charges against him, but Lauten explained to him that the state of Florida, which is represented by the state’s attorney’s office, had brought the charges against him.
“For the record, Mr. Loyd 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,” Lauten said. “But it is not the first time the court has heard that position.”
Loyd later refused to enter a plea and told the judge, “Y’all can’t do nothing to me.”
From the Post:
Lauten entered a not-guilty plea on Loyd’s behalf and tried to impress upon him the value of being represented by a lawyer during discovery, jury selection and “the entire trial process.” Though Loyd decided to represent himself, Lauten appointed the public defender’s office as a standby lawyer for Loyd after determining that he was competent to represent himself, according to video footage recorded at the hearing.
Loyd is due back in court March 20 for a status hearing.
Read more at the Washington Post.