A Florida white man telling detective officers that he has a "Pet Peeve" for parking at disabled places was convicted of manslaughter late Friday for shooting an unarmed black man in front of a supermarket.
Six jurors thought about it Six hours before the sentencing of Michael Drejka for the death of Markeis McGlockton on July 19, 2018. Drejka, who turned 30, looked down after reading the verdict and wiped himself with one blue handkerchief over the forehead. 49-year-old Drejka was held without a warrant until his conviction in October. He stared straight ahead as he was handcuffed out of the courtroom.
The verdict came about half an hour after the jury sent a note that they were confused by the state self-defense law. Circuit judge Joseph Bulone told them he could only read it once more.
The lengthy law generally states that a shoot-out is justified when a reasonable person believes that he is in mortal or great danger under these circumstances. But it also means that the shooter could not have instigated the argument.
Members of McGlockton's family wept as the verdict was read, hugged, and the prosecutors shook hands after the court was adjourned.
"This condemnation does not bring back our son, but it does give us some sense of justice, because the criminal justice system fails us too often by allowing people who take the lives of unarmed blacks to go free if her life meant nothing. McGlockton's mother Monica Robinson said in a statement. "We are confident that this belief will be a building block in changing the culture of racism here in Florida."
Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy, one of Drejka's lawyers, told reporters outside the courthouse that she respected the verdict. but her team would probably appeal. She expressed her condolences to the McGlockton family and said that, although she was disappointed with the verdict, she was "glad they got the justice they were looking for" while McGlockton went to a grocery store with his 5-year-old son. Security video shot McGlockton leaves the store and pushes Drejka to the ground. Seconds later, Drejka took out a pistol and fired at McGlockton (28) as he retired. McGlockton ran to the store where he collapsed and died in front of his son.
The video was played several times for the jury of five men and one woman.
Drejka did not testify for him, though jurors were playing a video of his interview with detectives. Drejka had a hidden firearms license for 25 years and told detectives that he "always" had his weapon with him.
Drejka told the detectives that he has a "pet peeve" about illegally parking in places with disabilities and often goes around such cars to look for handicapped stickers and posters, sometimes taking pictures. He said he often sees people who are illegally parked in the disabled place in this supermarket, but the owner does not object.
Drejka said he had seen McGlockton's car in the disabled place in July 2018, and went to this back and front, looking for stickers that store security video shows. He said the car windows were tinted so he did not know anyone was inside.
Jacobs, sitting with the couple's two younger children, partially slammed her window and asked what he was doing. He said he told her it was "not very polite" to park in the parking lot and "she took that as an insult." He said that triggered a heated dispute, and Jacobs said, "Do I have to get my husband?"
Jacobs testified that Drejka had started to point at her and yell at her. She said she had cracked the window to hear what he said, and a screaming match followed. Prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser said during the final clashes on Friday that Drejka had provoked McGlockton to shove him by shouting at Jacobs rather than calling the police, if he felt that he was parked in the disabled area. Testimonies show that months before he had confronted a septic tank driver because of parking in the same place, which led to a dispute.
"He's a vigilant parking lot," Rosenwasser said are ridiculous. Drejka retired in the thirties for health reasons from his work as a tree nurse.
"Does he look like" Death Wish "like Charles Bronson?" He asked, referring to the action film of 1974. "This is not a vigilante."
Drejka, the son of a police officer, had no record before the shooting.