A Florida man who claimed he was acting in self-defense under the state's controversial "stand your ground" law was found guilty of manslaughter. Michael Drejka shot and killed Markeis McGlockton following a dispute over a handicapped parking spot outside of a convenience store in Clearwater in July 2018.
Drejka claimed that he feared for his life after McGlockton shoved him to the ground. Clearwater police did not bring charges against Drejka at the time, citing the "stand your ground" law. Nearly a month later, prosecutors filed manslaughter charges against Drejka, claiming that he started the confrontation and had no reason to shoot McGlockton who turned to walk away after shoving Drejka.
During the trial, prosecutors pointed to discrepancies between what Drejka told the police and what was recorded on surveillance cameras. Drejka claimed that McGlockton charged at him after the shove, but the video showed McGlockton took a few steps back before he was shot.
Prosecutors tried to frame Drejka as a self-proclaimed "parking lot vigilante" with a "pet peeve" about enforcing handicap parking rules, while his defense team argued he was blindsided by the larger man and feared for his life.
After six hours of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict against Drejka. He will be sentenced on October 10 and faces up to 30 years in prison.
“We’re thankful that the jury got it right,” said Michele Rayner-Goolsby, an attorney who represents McGlockton’s parents. “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."