As his attorney argued Tuesday for a reduced charge of second-degree murder in the strangulation of his girlfriend, Mikael Loyd interrupted.
“Guilty, guilty,” Loyd said in a voice loud enough to be heard by members of his family and those of Melissa Rodriguez, the 19-year-old woman he is accused of strangling.
Douglas County Judge Susan Bazis ignored the outburst and ordered Loyd to stand trial on the original charge of first-degree murder. Loyd's attorney did not enter a plea for Loyd at Tuesday's preliminary hearing.
Rodriguez was killed the night of Aug. 14 at Hitchcock Park, where she and Loyd argued, made up and argued again, prosecutors say. The next morning, her body was found in a South Omaha grave, freshly dug for another homicide victim.
Prosecutor Rob MacTaggart said that Loyd, 19, choked Rodriguez until she passed out, stopped until she became conscious and then began again, repeating the process until Rodriguez didn't wake up.
“He could have stopped at any time, but he didn't,” MacTaggart said.
The couple's relationship had been stormy. Rodriguez's parents called Omaha police in June after seeing bruises on their daughter. An arrest warrant was issued for Loyd on an assault and battery charge, although he wasn't arrested on it until after Rodriguez was found dead.
Omaha Police Officer Eugene Watson testified that Loyd told detectives that he strangled Rodriguez because she reminded him of his mother. The homicide detective said Loyd blames his mother for the death of his father, who was killed in 1995.
Loyd's attorney had argued for an amended charge of second-degree murder, saying Loyd is mentally ill and the killing wasn't premeditated. Neither the attorney nor the judge acknowledged Loyd's outburst in court.
Loyd is being held without bail at the Douglas County Correctional Center.