A Florida man was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison on Thursday for fatally shooting a man over a convenience store parking space.
Convicted of manslaughter in August, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone sentenced Michael Drejka, 49, to a maximum of 30 years for the July 2018 shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, 28. At sentencing, the judge noted that Djreka hasn’t shown any remorse for killing McGlockton, a father of three, according to WFTS.
“The video indicates that Markeis McGlockton wasn’t coming towards Michael Drejka. He wasn’t standing still. He was turning away and Markeis was retreating,” Judge Bulone said before handing down the sentence.
McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, 26, testified that she pulled into the handicapped spot at Circle A Food Store before McGlockton and their 5-year-old son went into the store to get snacks. She reportedly said Drejka walked to her window and sparked an argument while questioning her about why she was in the spot.
Jacobs, who was pregnant at the time, said she asked Drejka if he wanted her to get her boyfriend in hopes that it would cause him to back off. She said that Drejka responded by saying that she should get him.
The defense unsuccessfully argued that Djreka opened fire in self-defense after McGlockton pushed him to the ground. Surveillance footage showed McGlockton backing away from Drejka moments before he is fatally wounded in the chest.
Further, Richard Kelly testified that Djreka started an altercation with him at the same convenience store about parking his work truck in a handicap spot months before McGlockton’s shooting death. Kelly, a septic company employee, said Djreka didn’t brandish a weapon, but his boss testified that Djreka called him after getting his contact info from the truck.
Kelly’s boss recalled Djreka telling him, “If I had a gun, I could have shot him.”
While Judge Bulone said Djreka was “blindsided” after being pushed, he described the convicted killer as a “wanna-be police officer” several times in his closing remarks.
The controversial case 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 defense attorneys didn’t cite the law in their arguments, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office referred to the law when explaining their initial decision to not arrest Drejka. Drejka also mentioned it during a police interrogation.
WFLA reported that Drejka has 30 days to appeal his sentence.
[Featured image: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File]