Last July, 47-year-old Michael Drejka got in a fight with Britany Jacobs, then 24, who was parked in a handicapped-accessible spot outside a grocery store. Her boyfriend, Markeis McGlockton, who was only 28, walked outside after them with their five-year-old son and defended Jacobs from Drejka, who had become aggressive.
Glockton pushed Drejka to the ground outside of the store in Clearwater, Fla., video surveillance showed. While sitting on the ground, Drejka pulled out his gun and shot McGlockton to death – McGlockton had started to move away. The entire incident lasted just a few seconds. But McGlockton was dead, right in front of his girlfriend and son.
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After the shooting, Drejka was cooperative with police and had a valid Florida concealed weapons license, according to CNN. And even though Drejka had started the argument and used a gun, although everyone else was unarmed, he was not initially arrested in the killing because the Pinellas County Sheriff said the state’s “stand your ground” law gave him immunity.
The “stand your ground” law has been heavily criticized in Florida. It supposedly allows citizens to defend themselves if they fear “imminent death or great bodily harm.’’ But it has been used in many racially charged cases where white people shoot people of color and are never charged, claiming self-defense.
But Drejka, who is white, was eventually charged – but only with manslaughter, even though he had a history of violence and the police in Clearwater knew him.
His trial for the murder of McGlockton started Monday. The trial begins Monday with the selection of six jurors, the Tampa Bay Times reported. All six jurors must come to a unanimous decision after listening to witnesses and watching the surveillance video.
Pinellas County State Attorney Bernie McCabe told USA TODAY last year he believes Drejka’s self-defense claim can be disproved and justice can be found for McGlockton.
“In any case where a defendant raises self-defense as an affirmative defense, we have to disprove that defense beyond a reasonable doubt, and I made the determination that we can do that,” McCabe said.