What to Know
- The trial is expected to begin on Aug. 19.
A Florida man accused of shooting an unarmed black man over a parking space wants his local sheriff called as an expert witness.
Michael Drejka, 48, was arrested in Clearwater last year, after a dispute over a handicap parking space outside a convenience store ended in the death of 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton, who was unarmed.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri decided that Drejka was acting within the state’s “stand your ground” law. He was not arrested on site.
“My opinion doesn’t matter. The only opinion that matters is what the jury says,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told The Tampa Bay Times. “Anybody can list anybody as a witness, and I’m confident the process will take care of itself and proceed accordingly.”
Prosecutors disagreed with Gualtieri after a 2017 legislature change said that the stand-your-ground defense must be proven by court.
Surveillance video from the convenience store parking lot showed McGlockton shoving Drejka to the ground after he approached Britany Jones, McGlockton’s girlfriend, about parking in the spot without a permit, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department.
Drejka then pulled a handgun out and shot McGlockton, fatally wounding him.
Drejka’s children, a 4-month-old and a 3-year-old, were in the car at the time of the incident, but their 5-year-old son was in the store. According to the Times, the 5-year-old walked out and saw Jacobs over his father’s dead body.
The trial is expected to begin on Aug. 19.