More than a year after a parking lot dispute caused a white man to shoot and kill an unarmed Black man outside a convenience store in Florida, Michael Drejka has been sentenced. But unlike the family of Botham Jean, who was unarmed when Amber Guyger shot and killed him in his own apartment, Markeis McGlockton’s family is not ready to forgive.
Drejka was sentenced on Thursday to serve 20 years in prison for fatally shooting McGlockton after his girlfriend parked in an accessible parking spot in July 2018. McGlockton, who walked inside the Clearwater, Florida., convenience store with the couple’s 5-year-old son, had come outside to defend Britany Jacobs. Drejka had been scolding Jacobs for parking in the accessible spot without having a permit to do so.
Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone sentenced the 49-year-old, who had been charged with manslaughter by the state’s attorney’s office, to be imprisoned for two decades. Drejka was also ordered to pay McGlockton’s family $5,000 in funeral costs. Bulone scolded Drejka for being a “wanna-be” law enforcement officer who self-appointed himself as the “handicapped parking space monitor.”
The fact that Drejka drove up and parked illegally parked next to Jacobs’ car and then confronted her about parking illegally in a handicapped space didn’t sit well with the judge.
“He just seems to come out of nowhere, kind of like a superhero, to see that he enforces the handicapped parking spot,” Bulone said.
Before the sentencing, the victim’s parents made it clear that they will not forgive Drejka for killing their 28-year-old son.
His mother, Monica Robinson, directly addressed Drejka and remarked that she does not harbor ill will against her son’s killer.
But that doesn’t mean he is in her good graces.
“Because of you, Michael Drejka, Markeis is now a memory,” NBC News reported Robinson said. “I don’t hate you, but I will never forgive you.”
McGlockton’s father, Michael McGlockton, had more stern words to share with Drejka who he accused of showing “absolutely no remorse” during a post-arrest television interview he gave
“You had the audacity to cry or show emotion because you missed your pets and your wife,” Michael McGlockton said. “I want you to know that that was a slap in my face. You deserve to die in prison.”
“In the Bible, it says in order to get into heaven, we must forgive those who trespass against us. At this point in my life, I am not there yet,” he added. “And if it just so happens that the Lord chooses to take me before I come to terms with this, then I will see you in hell where you and I will finish this. Mark my words.”
It’s a stark contrast to the way Botham Jean’s younger brother, Brandt Jean responded when former Dallas police officer Guyger was sentenced to 10 years for murdering his brother, who was a PwC accountant.
“If you truly are sorry, I know I can speak for myself,” the 18-year-old said on the stand last week. “I forgive you, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.”
Several people on Twitter remarked on the differences in how each separate victim’s families reacted to losing their respective son and brother forever.
“I am here for it.”
“And neither of them are wrong with how they choose to process their grief”
“I would hope, under similar circumstances, I would be more like Brandt Jean. But, in reality, I’d probably be more like McGlockton Sr.”