PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – There was a lengthy hearing Friday afternoon for the case where Michael Drejka is charged with manslaughter for the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton.
- Pretrial hearing for Michael Drejka
- Drejka is accused of shooting, killing Markeis McGlockton
- Judge denies Sheriff's testimony
- PREVIOUS: Markeis McGlockton Shooting: 1 Year Later
In that hearing a judge made some major decisions about the upcoming trial.
One of the main things discussed in the hearing was the decision to not appoint a special prosecutor to this case like Drejka’s defense argued for. The defense accused the prosecution of race baiting, buckling to the pressure of outside influences and "acting as the judge, jury and executioner."
"That sounds more like Reverend Al Sharpton talking than it should be the state attorney talking in the case," defense attorney John Trevena said. "I find it interesting that the state is taking a position of such vehement opposition to being removed from the case because that almost in itself suggests and bias in the case."
Prosecutors denied those allegations and called out several inaccuracies in the defense’s claims.
"This is a legally insignificant and illegal insufficient motion. We shouldn’t have even had a hearing on it because there’s no legal basis to hear. It should really be stricken,” prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser said.
Prosecutors also denied having bias in an incident outside of the courtroom a few months ago. The defense said the victim’s father, Michael McGlockton threatened Drejka’s life. But prosecutors said witness accounts and a report filed with the Sheriff’s Office that show the incident was just a heated argument.
The judge in the case, Joseph Bulone, agreed and warned against it going forward.
"Unfortunately it’s not all that unusual in the courtroom to have the sort of thing that we had. It doesn’t make it right at all, it doesn’t make it acceptable at all, it doesn’t make it appropriate at all," he said.
Bulone sided with prosecutors on most of the motions during the hearing. Including ruling prosecutors will remain on the case and there will not be a special prosecutor.
The judge also ruled that Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri will not testify at the trial later this month. The judge said the sheriff’s testimony would be his opinion. He said guilt or innocence is for a jury to decide.
There will be another hearing next Friday where the judge will decide what portions of the shooting video the jury will be allowed to see.
The trial for this case is set to begin August 19.