A Florida man is currently standing trial for last year’s shooting death of a man in what reportedly stemmed from a dispute over a parking spot.
Michael Drejka, 49, is facing manslaughter charges for fatally shooting Markeis McGlockton, 28, outside of a Clearwater convenience store parking lot on July 19, 2018. While Drejka’s attorneys are claiming he acted in self-defense after McGlockton pushed him to the ground and his girlfriend threatened him, prosecutors said McGlockton was turning away from Drejka when he shot him in the chest, according to CNN.
The news network noted that both the defense and prosecution have claimed that surveillance footage showing the shooting proves their side of the story.
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On Wednesday, the slain man’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, 26, took the stand and testified about the events leading up to the fatal shooting. She said she pulled into the handicap spot with McGlockton and their children when McGlockton went into the store to get snacks.
Jacobs alleged Drejka was walking around her car, prompting her to roll down her window. An argument ensued when Drejka questioned her about why she was in the parking spot, she said.
Jacobs reportedly asked Drejka if he wanted her to get her boyfriend. She claimed she made the comment in hopes of scaring Drejka—but he ended up telling her that he should get her boyfriend if she wanted to fight.
Jacobs and McGlockton have four children—one who was born after his death. Jacobs was reportedly three months pregnant at the time of the July 2018 shooting.
“I just wanted this man to leave me alone,” she said of Drejka, according to NBC News. “Leave me and my babies alone.”
The first witness the prosecution called to the stand was Richard Kelly, a septic company employee who described an encounter he had with Drejka in the same parking lot in February 2018, months before the fatal altercation with McGlockton.
According to WFTS, Kelly testified that Drejka threatened him for parking in the handicap spot but he didn’t pull a weapon on him. Drejka explained that he wasn’t disabled but his mother-in-law was. The disagreement reportedly calmed down when the convenience store owner came out to the parking lot and Kelly left.
On Wednesday, Kelly’s boss, John Tyler, took the stand and testified that Drejka called him to complain about Kelly parking in the handicap spot. Tyler alleged that Drejka said Kelly was lucky.
“He said, ‘If I had a gun, I could have shot him,’” Tyler testified, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The case has brought additional scrutiny to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Under the statute, someone is allowed to use lethal force if they “reasonably believe that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
CNN reported that the law doesn’t protect a person who instigated the use of force, unless they’ve exhausted every other option to retreat or escape. The defense hasn’t cited the controversial law as part of their argument, but are claiming this is a classic case of self-defense.
Defense attorney Bryant Camareno said in the span of 11 seconds, McGlockton made a “beeline” toward Drejka and pushed him before he was shot, according to ABC News. He also criticized prosecutors for suggesting Drejka had a history of parking lot altercations, adding that neither Tyler or Kelly called the police on him.
The high-profile trial, which is in its fourth day, is expected to continue for two to three weeks.
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[Featured image: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File]