The Florida man who shot and killed Markeis McGlockton, an unarmed Black man over an argument about a handicapped parking spot, was found guilty of manslaughter on Friday bringing some sense of justice to McGlockton’s family.
According to CNN, with the conviction, Michael Drejka, who is white, faces up to 30 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 10 to determine the rest of Drejka’s fate.
As the report notes, Drejka attempted to use Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” laws to defend the shooting death, but in the end, the jury determined that Drejka was guilty.
Last summer, Drejka confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, as she was sitting in the car with two of the couple’s children in the handicapped-accessible parking spot outside a Circle A food store. Drejka began yelling at Jacobs and an argument started, at which point, McGlockton, stepped out of the store, seeing the altercation and shoved Drejka to the ground.
Drejka drew his firearm and shot McGlockton who had taken several steps back, ultimately killing him.
The shooting immediately drew ire, especially when Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri initially refused to arrest Drejka citing the “stand your ground” law which was passed in 2005.
However, about a month later the state attorney charged the 49-year-old with manslaughter.
Defense attorneys attempted to claim that Drejka feared for his life when he drew his weapon on McGlockton, with John Trevena claiming that his client would have been “beaten to a pulp” had he not done what he did.
“The right to stay alive is the most fundamental right,” he said.
“Mr. Drejka thought the danger was real,” Trevena argued in his closing statements “This large man pushed him to the ground. The threat was real.”
However, prosecutors said that the case was “cut and dry,” calling Drejka a “parking lot vigilante” with a “pet peeve” surrounding handicap parking rules.
“The defendant himself tells you it’s manslaughter,” the prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser argued. “You know what Markeis McGlockton is guilty of? He is guilty of loving and trying to protect his family and he died because of it.”
According to CNN McGlockton’s family cried at the jury’s verdict.