A Florida man admittedly irked by those who park illegally in handicapped parking spaces was sentenced to jail Thursday for the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man outside a convenience store last year.
A judge sentenced Michael Drejka, 49, to 20 years in the killing of Markeis McGlockton, who was defending his girlfriend against the self-appointed “handicapped parking space monitor,” NBC South Florida reported.
Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone decried Drejka’s actions, calling him a “wanna-be” law enforcement officer.
“The most ironic thing about this whole case is HE parks illegally,” Bulone “He doesn’t even park in a parking space … he just seems to come out of nowhere, kind of like a superhero, to see that he enforces the handicapped parking spot.”
In court it emerged that Drejka had a history of policing that same parking space and had been asked by the store owner to stop doing so. That’s when Drekja began carrying a gun to the store, the judge said.
The deadly encounter unfolded July 2018 when Drejka, 49, confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, when she pulled into a handi-capped accessible space outside a convenience store in Clearwater, Fla. McGlockton and the couple’s 5-year-old child were inside shopping as Drejka and Jacobs exchanged words outside.
At a hearing earlier this year, Jacobs testified that she “just wanted this man to leave … me and my babies alone,” recalling how Drejka scolded her for parking in that particular spot without having the proper permit.
Surveillance video from the incident showed McGlockton shove Drejka to the ground after walking out to find the strange man berating his girlfriend. That’s when Drejka pulls a gun and shoots the Black father, killing him.
Initially, Pinellas County authorities declined to arrest or charge Drejka in the incident, arguing that the shooting “… fell within the bookends” of the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” statute, which allows citizens to use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger. After the shooting, Drejka told deputies he fired in self-defense, out of fear the 28-year-old might further assault him.
However, store security footage shows McGlockton stepping back and retreating moments before Drejka fired the fatal shot. In August, the state attorney’s office finally charged the gunman with manslaughter.
At Thursday’s sentencing, the suspect got a chance to hear from the victim’s relatives, including McGlockton’s parents and girlfriend, Britany Jacobs.
“The defendant’s weakness, his cowardice and his anger … are the reasons Markeis is dead,” Jacobs, who shared four children with McGlockton, read in a statement to the court. “Think about raising four children alone without their daddy. Without Markeis my world can never be whole again.”
In addition to the sentencing, the judge ordered to Drejka to to pay McGlockton’s family $5,000 in restitution to cover funeral costs. Bulone added that Drejka appeared to show no remorse over the shooting.
Drejka’s attorney said they plan to file an appeal to have the conviction overturned.
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