CLEARWATER, Fla. — A six-member jury found Michael Drejka guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton in July 2018.
- Shooting stemmed from argument over parking spot
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Drejka faces up to 30 years in prison. The shooting happened after the two argued about a disabled-driver parking space.
The jury deliberated for over six hours before rendering a verdict.
Long, difficult final day in court
Judge Joseph Bulone asked the jurors in the Pinellas County Justice Center courtroom whether they would be OK staying late Friday night to continue deliberating. The five men and one woman on the jury said yes.
The first person on the stand Friday was the defense's expert witness, who was asked questions about "blading." The expert said blading is a defensive stance.
The word blading was first introduced in this case by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. He originally said McGlockton was blading, not retreating, when Drejka pulled out his gun and fired the fatal shot.
The defense wanted the sheriff to testify to that, but Bulone ruled a few weeks ago that the sheriff would not testify at trial and that his comments made publicly on the video were his opinion. Bulone said that should be left up to the jury to decide what they see in the video.
On Thursday, jurors in the courtroom watched the hour-long interrogation video of Drejka that took place just hours after the shooting. In it, Drejka told investigators that if McGlockton was going to hit him that hard to begin with, he should have expected retaliation.
"I shoot — I shoot to save my own a** and that's that," Drejka is heard saying on the recording.
The jury also watched enhanced surveillance video of the shooting, which happened July 19, 2018, at a Circle A Food Store on Sunset Point Road in Clearwater.
In the video, McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, is seen pulling a Chrysler sedan into a disabled person's parking space in front of the store.
McGlockton and their 5-year-old son went inside. Then Drejka approached Jacobs, and the two began arguing about the parking space, authorities say.
According to a witness, McGlockton came out of the store, saw what was happening, and shoved Drejka to the ground. Drejka then pulled out a handgun and shot McGlockton once in the chest, killing him.
Follow today's court proceedings from Spectrum News reporter Saundra Weathers: