Manslaughter Charge in FL Stand Your Ground Case

The sheriff had refused to charge Michael Drejka for killing Markeis McGlockton in a parking dispute, citing the state law allowing people to shoot in self-defense. A prosecutor said the facts support a manslaughter charge.

Prosecutors charged Michael Drejka, the man accused of killing Markeis McGlockton in a shooting that has reignited a debate over Florida’s stand your ground law, with manslaughter, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe said his office “filed the charge we think we can prove.” Drejka, who turned 48 since the shooting, had avoided arrest since he shot McGlockton, 28, on July 19 because of the controversial self-defense law that eliminated one’s duty to retreat before resorting to force. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said his agency was precluded from arresting Drejka because the case was “within the bookends of stand your ground and within the bookends of force being justified.”

The encounter started when Drejka, of Clearwater, Fl., confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, about why she had parked at a food store in a handicap-reserved parking space without a decal. McGlockton emerged from the store and pushed Drejka to the ground. Drejka then pulled out a gun and shots McGlockton. He told deputies he was in fear of further attack. The warrant for Drejka’s arrest said McGlockton had immediately backed up when he was confronted with the firearm. State legislators revised the law last year to put the onus on prosecutors to disprove a stand your ground claim instead of on defense attorneys to prove one. Drejka has been the accused aggressor in four incidents since 2012. He was not arrested in any of the cases and does not have a criminal history in Florida. two of the previous cases were road rage incidents documented by law enforcement in which he was accused of showing a gun. A third was an argument a few months ago over the same parking space in which Drejka confronted another man and threatened to shoot him.