Florida ‘Stand Your Ground’ Shooter Denied Reduced Bail

Chris Jasurek
By Chris Jasurek
August 24, 2018US News

A man who was captured on camera shooting another man after a dispute over a parking space was not granted a bail reduction at a hearing on Aug. 23.

Michael Drejka’s lawyer, John Trevena, applied to have his $100,000 bail lowered to $25,000 for the manslaughter charge related to a fatal shooting.

Trevena noted that Drejka, 47, stayed at the scene of the shooting and spoke with police, and then did not try to leave the state between the afternoon of the shooting, July 19, and the date of his arrest, Aug. 13. Trevena claimed this proved his client was not a flight risk.

The judge demurred. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone called the amount “a fair and a reasonable bond under all the facts and circumstances of the case,” according to TampaBay.com.  Drejka remains in custody on $100,000 bond.

Michael Drejka pleaded not guilty of shooting Markeis McGlockton
Michael Drejka pleaded not guilty of shooting Markeis McGlockton over a handicapped parking space outside a Clearwater, Florida convenience store. (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

‘Stand Your Ground’

Drejka was initially not arrested for the shooting because he told police officers that he was protected by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which states that a person may use deadly force if he or she feels his or her life is in immediate danger.

Some states require a person to use every available means to escape before resorting to deadly force. Florida allows a person to use force whenever a deadly threat is perceived, even if flight is an option.

The incident unfolded on July 19, when Britany Jacobs, Markeis McGlockton, and their three children parked in a handicapped space in front of a Clearwater, Florida, convenience store.

While McGlockton was in the store with his five-year-old son, Drejka approached the parked car and, after apparently checking for a handicapped sticker on the car, began to argue with the driver, Britany Jacobs, 25, who stayed in the car with the other two children, aged 3 years and four months.

On the surveillance video from the convenience store surveillance video, Drejka can be seen arguing with the woman for a full two minutes before McGlockton exits the store.

Michael Drejka’s lawyer, John Trevena, pleads for lower bail.
Michael Drejka (orange jumpsuit) listens while his lawyer, John Trevena, (Left) pleads for lowered bail. (Fox screenshot)

When Markeis McGlockton exited the store and saw the argument, he walked up and shoved Drejka to the ground. Drejka then drew a pistol as McGlockton was pulling up his shorts, at which point, McGlockton appeared to back off. That’s when Drejka shot him once in the chest.

McGlockton then ran back into the store where he died in front of his five-year-old son. McGlockton was 28 years old.

No Immediate Arrest

One peculiarity of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law is that if a suspect invokes it, even if he or she admits to shooting another person, police are not allowed to arrest that individual. Drejka was allowed to go home after speaking with Pinellas County deputies.

Michael Drejka did have a permit for the pistol and a valid concealed-carry permit as well.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told TampaBay.com that the shooting “is within the bookends of ‘stand your ground’ and within the bookends of force being justified.”

The sheriff later remarked, “I’m not saying I agree with it, but I don’t make that call.

“Our job and our role is not to substitute our judgment for the law and what the Legislature has crafted as the framework,” Sheriff Gualtieri said, “but to enforce it equally and fairly as we’re required to do.”

The case was forwarded to the country prosecutor, who finally brought manslaughter charges on Aug. 13.

Britany Jacobs told Tampabay.com, “It’s a wrongful death. It’s messed up. Markeis is a good man … He was just protecting us, you know? And it hurts so bad.”

Britany Jacobs (R) attends the bail hearing
Britany Jacobs (R) attends the bail hearing

Prior Bad Acts

During Drejka’s arraignment on Aug. 14, a police officer testified that three other drivers had had altercations with Drejka, and in two of those, he was accused of brandishing a gun.

Pinellas sheriff’s Detective George Moffett said that twice in 2012 Drejka waved a gun at drivers in road rage incidents. In each case, police officers stopped Drejka and found him with a gun, but he denied having drawn it.

Just three months prior to his altercation with McGlockton, Drejka had threatened another man who had parked in the same handicapped space that led to the lethal dispute in July, according to court documents.

When the driver of a septic tank truck parked in the spot, Drejka began yelling at the man, threatening to shoot him. Drejka later called the man’s employer and said the employer was lucky Drejka “didn’t blow his employee’s head off.”

Associated Press contributed to this article.

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