Jury finds Michael Drejka guilty of manslaughter in “stand your ground” case

Arrested

A white Florida man was found guilty of killing Friday for the July 2018 shooting death of an unarmed black man, CBS St. Petersburg affiliate WTSP reports. Michael Drejka pleaded he acted in self-defense in the dispute over a handicapped-accessible parking spot at a Clearwater convenience store.

Prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser told jurors during closing arguments that Drejka, 49, instigated Markeis McGlockton, 28, to propel him by yelling at McGlockton’s girlfriend because she was parked in a handicapped space and then fired as McGlockton started to flee.

Drejka said during a video-recorded interview with Pinellas County sheriff’s detectives five hours after the shooting that illegal parking in handicapped spots is his “pet peeve,” so he will frequently walk around such cars and take photos, using an expletive to say he is trying to mess with the drivers.

Drejka described the moment he drew his gun after being pushed to the ground by Markeis McGlockton last year, during an argument over a handicapped parking spot. “The way I was able to draw it, I couldn’t level it with one hand, so I eventually try to bring my left around for support and he made this step towards me and that was that,” Drejka said.

When asked how many steps McGlockton took towards him, Drejka said “just one step.”

But prosecutors said surveillance video from the Clearwater, Florida convenience store shows McGlockton, who was unarmed, actually stepped back.

Drejka’s attorneys said in closing arguments that McGlockton caused his own death by shoving the defendant who was put in a vulnerable position on the ground and fired his gun to protect himself.

The jury deliberated late into the night Friday, more than six hours after they got the case.

After more than five hours, the six-member panel sent out a note saying they were confused by the state’s self-defense law. Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone told them all he could do is reread it for them.

The lengthy statute generally says Drejka could shoot McGlockton if a reasonable person under those circumstances would believe they are in danger of death or great bodily harm. But it also says the shooter could not have instigated the dispute.


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