Michael Drejka shot and killed Markeis McGlockton in a Clearwater, Florida convenience store parking lot in July 2018, claiming self-defense under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. McGlockton confronted Drejka for harassing his girlfriend over a handicapped parking space and was killed by a gunshot wound to his chest in front of his family.
Friday night, the gavel finally came down and Drejka was found guilty of manslaughter for McGlockton’s death. He was remanded into custody and is scheduled for sentencing October 10. “I can safely say my family can rest now,” McGlockton’s father, Michael McGlockton, said after the verdict was delivered. “Now we can start putting the pieces back together and move on.”
Drejka’s defense attorney said Friday during closing arguments that McGlockton caused his own death by shoving Drejka and that he was only protecting himself by firing his gun. Drejka, who has a concealed weapons license, cited self-defense under the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law.
Although not initially charged by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, almost a month later prosecutors filed manslaughter charges against Drejka. Gualtieri’s decision not to immediately arrest Drejka turned the case into national news and renewed the debate about Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Gualtieri said it’s what kept them from arresting Drejka. “I don’t get to, and we don’t get to, substitute our judgment for Drejka’s judgment,” Gualtieri said last year.
Prosecution rested its case Thursday after two days of testimony, arguing that Drejka started the altercation by confronting McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs because she was parked with her children in a handicapped space. They also said Drejka had no reason to fire his weapon, as McGlockton was retreating.
During closing arguments, Prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser said to the jury, “You know what Markeis McGlockton is guilty of? He’s guilty of loving and trying to protect his family, and he died because of it.”
Michele Rayner-Goolsby, an attorney representing McGlockton’s parents said after the ruling, “We’re thankful that the jury got it right. We’re thankful that the jury saw what we saw, saw what everybody saw on that video — that a parking lot vigilante with an ax to grind murdered Markeis McGlockton in cold blood.”
Continued prayers and condolences to the McGlockton family ??