Michael Drejka, a Florida man who shot and killed a black man over a dispute over a parking space, and whose case was one of the more extreme examples of the so-called “Stand Your Ground” defense, has been found guilty of manslaughter, CNN reports. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
On July 19, 2018, Drejka got into a confrontation with Markeis McGlockton at a Clearwater convenience store. McGlockton was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his girlfriend, Britany Jacobs. Jacobs parked the family’s vehicle in a handicapped parking spot, despite the fact that the vehicle was not displaying a handicapped placard, as The Tampa Bay Times reported at the time. McGlockton went inside.
Drejka pulled his vehicle in behind McGlockton’s and parked perpendicular to her, effectively blocking her in. He then confronted her and began looking for a handicapped placard, while Jacobs and two children were in the vehicle. McGlockton then emerged from the store, and pushed Drejka to the ground. Drejka then produced a gun and shot McGlockton, who had been backing away. McGlockon later died.
“Stand Your Ground”
Florida is one of 22 states that have so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws, which is to say, laws that justify the use of lethal force even if retreating to safety is possible, according to the ORL Research Report.
— Law & Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) August 24, 2019
At the time, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office declined to press charges against Drejka, citing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. However, the case was forwarded to the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida’s State Attorney Bernie McCabe. On August 13, 2018, McCabe charged Drejka with one count of manslaughter.
Throughout the trial, Drejka’s defense team tried to portray their client as the victim. Drejka’s attorney, John Trevena, told jurors that if his client hadn’t pulled his weapon, he could have been killed by McGlockton.
“Mr. Drejka thought the danger was real. This large man pushed him to the ground. The threat was real,” he said.
Prosecutors, however, described Drekjka as a “parking lot vigilante” who “took the most perfect shot he could take” at McGlockton.
“You know what Markeis McGlockton is guilty of? He is guilty of loving and trying to protect his family and he died because of it,” said prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser.
After six hours of deliberations, jurors agreed with the prosecutor, and handed down a guilty verdict.
Drejka’s sentencing has been set for October 10. He faces up to 30 years in prison.