CLEARWATER, Fla. — A pre-trial hearing was held Friday for Michael Drejka, the man accused of shooting and killing a man in a Clearwater parking lot.
- Michael Drejka hearing was held Friday
- Drejka facing manslaughter trial in shooting death of Markeis McGlockton
- Drejka's attorneys wanted mentions of previous confrontations kept out of testimony
- PREVIOUS STORIES: The Drejka Case
A judge heard arguments about whether prosecutors can use Drejka's prior confrontations in the case against him. Drejka will stand trial for manslaughter charges in August in the slaying of Markeis McGlockton.
On Friday, the state called five different witnesses who all described their interactions with Drejka. Those involved cars, a gun, and in one case a handicap parking spot.
The defense didn't want any of this to make it to trial, but a judge ruled that some of it will.
Alleged road rage incident
First, the state questioned witness Taylor Smith about a 2012 incident they argue involved Drejka.
“I stopped, there was a black Toyota Tundra behind me and he was honking his horn," Smith explained. "I guess he was upset that I didn't go through the light."
That's when Smith said things escalated.
“[Drejka] grabbed the hand gun and stuck it out the window and pointed at my vehicle,” he said.
Smith went on to describe Drejka following and brake-checking him in traffic before Smith called police.
The officer who responded to Smith’s call then testified that the tag number Smith reported belonged to Michael Drejka. He said Drejka admitted to being in the area where the reported incidents occurred, but denied the allegations.
The judge ruled that the jury won’t hear Smith’s story unless Drejka takes the stand or his defense tries to call him a responsible gun owner.
Racially charged comment inadmissible
Next, the state argued for the admissibility of an incident involving witness Richard Kelly that took place in the exact same parking lot where Drejka would later shoot Markeis McGlockton five months later.
Kelly described how he got into an argument with Drejka after Kelly parked his tanker truck in the very same handicap parking space where the incident with McGlockton began.
"I said, 'why are you walking around the truck?" Kelly explained. "He stated to me, 'Am I handicap?' I stated, 'No, I'm obviously driving this tanker.'"
"I said, 'Are you handicap?'" Kelly went on. "[Drejka] said, 'No, my mom is.' I said, 'Is your mom here today?' He said no."
Kelly then explained that the argument continued to escalate, leading to Drejka allegedly threatening to shoot him.
"First thing he said, 'I should shoot you, N***," Kelly said.
When asked by the prosecutor how he responded, Kelly said, "I told him, 'I'm not afraid to die and if you're going to shoot, shoot."
The judge ruled that while Kelly's description of the argument could be presented during trial, the racially charged comment was inadmissible due to it being prejudicial and not connected to anything else in the manslaughter case.
Convenience store owner testifies
Circle-A Food Store owner Aballa Salous then described for the court how he came out and attempted to diffuse the situation.
“I told him it’s not worth it to start fighting for stupid reason like that,” Salous said. "He said, 'I can't help it.' He told me 'I can't help it, I always get myself in trouble."
The judge went on to rule that statement from Drejka could be heard by the jury.
Drejka's next pre-trial hearing is set for June 7.