UPDATE 10/10/19: Convicted of manslaughter, Michael Drejka is sentenced to 20 years in prison for the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton outside a Florida convenience store. – COURT TV STAFF
UPDATE 8/23/19: Michael Drejka, who fatally shot an unarmed man, Markeis McGlockton, during a dispute over a handicapped-accessible parking spot, was found guilty of manslaughter on August 23, 2019. – COURT TV STAFF
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) – It all happened because of a parking spot dispute. Michael Drejka has been found guilty of fatally shooting Markeis McGlockton outside a local convenience store.
Shortly before the shooting, Drejka had confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, for using a disabled parking space with a permit. McGlockton came out of the store and pushed Drejka resulting in Drejka falling to the ground. Drejka drew his firearm and shot McGlockton. McGlockton later died from his injuries at a local hospital.
McGlockton was a 28-year-old African American man. Drejka, a 47-year-old Caucasian man, was not initially charged for the killing by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, using Florida’s stand-your-ground law as the reason. The investigation was then handed over to the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida State Attorney Bernie McCabe, who charged Drejka with one count of manslaughter on August 13, 2018. Drejka pleaded not guilty to the charge; his trial is scheduled to begin on August 19, 2019.
At a news conference, McGlockton’s father said he knows the court proceedings will be lengthy. He says it’s his hope that Drejka will be convicted and sentenced to a long prison term.
McGlockton’s girlfriend says Drejka confronted her as she sat in the couple’s car with two of their children because she was parked in a handicapped-accessible space. The girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, said Drejka was cursing at her. Video shows McGlockton then exited the store and shoved Drejka to the ground. Seconds later, Drejka pulled out a handgun and shot McGlockton as he backed away.
A Florida detective says a white man charged with fatally shooting an unarmed black man in a parking lot had threatened three other drivers previously.
Pinellas County sheriff’s Detective George Moffett said in court records that a septic truck driver told him Michael Drejka threatened to shoot him and used racial slurs three months prior when the driver parked in the same handicapped-accessible parking space that victim Markeis McGlockton’s family parked in on July 19.
Moffet also said that in 2012, drivers involved in two separate road-rage confrontations with Drejka said he pointed a gun at them. Moffet said that in one of the cases, the teen driver declined to press charges. In the other, the woman driver left the scene before the officer could get her information. The detective said that in both cases, Drejka denied pointing a gun but one was found in his car.
Drejka is being held on $100,000 bond.
Day 1 of jury selection began on Monday, August 19, 2019. By Tuesday, a predominantly white male jury was sworn in to decide the manslaughter case against Michael Drejka. Five men and 1 woman make up the deliberating panel, 1 man and 2 women—will serve as alternates.
This story has been updated.