CLEARWATER, Fla. - A jury found a white Florida man guilty of manslaughter Friday night in the 2018 fatal shooting of an unarmed black man outside a convenience store.
A Pinellas County jury deliberated for 6 1/2 hours before finding Michael Drejka guilty in the July 19, 2018, shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Drejka, 49, stared straight ahead as the verdict was read at 10:41 p.m. Friday, the newspaper reported. He will be sentenced Oct. 10 and could receive up to 30 years in prison, WTVT reported. Drejka is being held without bond until the sentencing, the television station reported.
McGlockton's death came after an argument over a handicapped parking spot at a Clearwater convenience store, WFLA reported. According to Pinellas County deputies, Britany Jacobs, 26, parked her 2016 Chrysler 2000 in a handicapped spot at a Circle A Food Store and waited while McGlockton, her boyfriend, took the couple's 5-year-old son into the store, the television station reported.
Drejka pulled into the parking lot and confronted Jacobs, asking why she had parked in the handicapped space, the Times reported.
“I was scared,” Jacobs told jurors. “I didn’t know who this strange, suspicious man was.”
McGlockton left the store and confronted Drejka, WFLA reported. Surveillance video showed McGlockton push Drejka to the ground, the television station reported. Drejka then took out a .40 caliber Glock handgun and shot McGlockton in the chest, according to the surveillance video. McGlockton was taken to an area hospital, where he later died, WFLA reported.
While jurors deliberated, they sent a note to the judge seeking clarification for Florida's "stand your ground" statute. The law maintains a shooting is justified if a reasonable person in those circumstances believes they are in danger of death or great bodily harm, The Associated Press reported.
Prosecutors said the video showed McGlockton moving back once Drejka pulled his gun, the Times reported.
“This conviction doesn’t bring our son back, but it does give us some sense of justice because far too often the criminal justice system fails us by allowing people who take the lives of unarmed Black people to walk free as though their lives meant nothing,” McGlockton’s mother, Monica Robinson, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that this conviction will be a brick in the road to changing the culture of racism here in Florida.”
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