On Friday evening, a jury found a Florida man guilty of manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed man last year during a dispute over a handicapped parking space.
Michael Drejka, 49, was on trial for the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, 28, in a Clearwater convenience store parking lot on July 19, 2018. Drejka, who had been free on bail, was taken into custody following the guilty verdict, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
On Wednesday, the slain man’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, 26, 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.
According to NBC, 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 instead of backing off, he told her that he should get her boyfriend if she wanted to fight.
While Drejka’s attorneys claimed he acted in self-defense after McGlockton pushed him to the ground and McGlockton’s girlfriend threatened him, prosecutors said McGlockton was turning away from Drejka when he shot him in the chest.
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.”
While the defense didn’t cite the controversial law in their argument, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office cited the law while explaining their initial decision to not arrest Drejka, according to WFTS.
Further, Drejka, who didn’t testify during the trial, mentioned the “Stand Your Ground” law during a police interview conducted the same day as the deadly shooting. Prosecutors presented the filmed interview on Thursday before resting their case.
“As I come out I start drawing my weapon. As I start leveling off my weapon, he makes his next step towards me and 21-foot rule,” he says, according to the Daily Mail. “It happened so fast and that was that…I thought kicks were coming or at least he’d be on top of me.”
During the hourlong interview, detective Richard Redman pressed Drejka on his claim that McGlockton was approaching him when he fired. Surveillance footage appears to show McGlockton backing away from Drejka moments before he’s fatally wounded.
“You know what Markeis McGlockton is guilty of?” Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser asked, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s guilty of loving and trying to protect his family, and he died because of it.”
The jury handed down the guilty verdict following roughly six hours of deliberation. Sentencing is scheduled for October 10.
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[Featured image: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File]