‘Stand Your Ground’ Case in Florida Ends With Manslaughter Verdict

Written by on October 31, 2019

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Michael Drejka said he had feared for his life when he killed Markeis McGlockton in an argument over a parking spot.

In a test of the self-defense law known as “Stand Your Ground,” a Florida jury on Friday night found Michael Drejka guilty of manslaughter for killing Markeis McGlockton, after an argument over a parking spot escalated outside a convenience store in Clearwater, Fla., last summer.

Citing the Florida law, the county sheriff did not arrest Mr. Drejka, who is white, until three weeks after he fatally shot Mr. McGlockton, who was black and unarmed.

The mention of the law, as well as the races of the men, reminded many of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in Sanford, Fla., in 2012.

Prosecutors in Pinellas County, Fla., eventually charged Mr. Drejka with one count of manslaughter. He did not testify in the trial, and the six-person jury deliberated for about six hours before reaching a verdict on Friday.


Mr. Drejka’s sentencing hearing has been set for Oct. 10, and he could face up to 30 years in prison. He had been free on bond since last September, but a judge remanded him to jail after the verdict, according to court records.

Mr. Drejka was “frustrated” and “mystified” by the ruling, one of his lawyers said, vowing to appeal.

“He doesn’t know how it went from the sheriff saying he committed no crime to the state attorney then charging him and so aggressively pursuing him,” the lawyer, John Trevena, said on Saturday morning.

Mr. Trevena said the state attorney’s office had caved to political pressure from activists — including the Rev. Al Sharpton and the lawyer Benjamin Crump — by filing charges in the first place.

After the verdict was read, prosecutors hugged and consoled members of Mr. McGlockton’s family, according to The Tampa Bay Times.


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