DNY59/iStock(CLEARWATER, Fla.) — A Florida man found guilty of manslaughter in the 2018 killing of an unarmed father he shot in a dispute over a handicap parking space was sentenced Wednesday to serve 20 years in prison.
Michael Drejka, 48, learned his fate after Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone heard from family members of the victim, Markeis McGlockton, including his parents and the mother of his four children, Britany Jacobs.
“The defendant’s weakness, his cowardice and his anger are the reasons Markeis is dead,” said Jacobs, reading from a prepared statement.
“Think about raising four children alone without their daddy. Without Markeis my world can never be whole again,” said Jacobs, asking Judge Bulone for a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Judge Bulone, who described Drejka as a “wannabe cop,” rejected a request from Drejka’s defense attorneys for a lenient sentence of probation and house arrest.
Bulone said that while Florida allows people like Drejka to hold permits to carry concealed weapons, “With those rights come responsibilities.”
A Florida jury deliberated for just six hours before finding a man guilty of manslaughter in the 2018 killing of an unarmed father he shot in front of his family in a dispute over a handicap parking space.
Michael Drejka had argued he acted in self-defense, and initially invoked the controversial “stand your ground” law that earned widespread attention during the trial of Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2013 killing of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin.
A jury found Drejka guilty of manslaughter in August after deliberating for about six hours. Drejka refused to speak at the sentencing.
Just hours after gunning down Markeis McGlockton, Drejka told detectives he opened fire on July 19, 2018, when the unarmed man shoved him to the ground outside a Circle A store in Clearwater, Fla., and took one step toward him, a scenario the jury rejected after viewing security video multiple times that showed the victim step back when he saw Drejka pull a firearm.
Drejka, who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon when he shot McGlockton, initially invoked Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” self-defense law, which went into effect in 2005. It allowed people to use lethal force if they consider their lives to be in imminent jeopardy.
The security video of Drejka shooting McGlockton was played multiple times for the six-member jury. The footage showed Drejka apparently arguing with McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, over why she was parked in a handicap space when McGlockton came out of the store and shoved Drejka to the ground. In a split second, Drejka pulled his gun and fired as McGlockton seemed to be stepping away from McGlockton, according to the security video.
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