PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Pinellas County jury has found Michael Drejka guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton.
Jury deliberations in the Michael Drejka trial began Friday afternoon.
Friday marked day three of testimony in the controversial manslaughter trial. To review day two of testimony, click here.
Michael Drejka shot and killed Markeis McGlockton in a Circle A convenience store parking lot last year after an argument over a handicapped parking spot.
Here is our live coverage from throughout the day (Updates go from most recent to oldest):
A press conference is held outside of the courthouse following the guilty verdict.
Defense Attorney Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy is the first to speak at the podium.
“We thank the jurors for all their hard work on this case,” said Jean-Pierre Coy.
Markeis McGlockton’s family is next to address the media. The family’s attorney, Michele Rayner, spoke on their behalf.
“We are incredibly thankful to the prosecution and we are incredibly thankful to the jurors of this case. We are thankful they saw what we saw,” said Rayner.
The jury has reached a unanimous verdict. They find Michael Drejka guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton.
Crying can be heard in the court room as the verdict is read.
The jury is brought back into the courtroom. They are asking for clarification about reasonable doubt and use-of-force.
The judge reads the instructions back to the jury.
Moments later, the jury goes back to deliberating.
The jury has a question.
A jury of six – five men and one woman – will now decide the fate of Michael Drejka.
A manslaughter charge carries a maximum of 15 years in Florida State prison but because Drejka used a handgun, he could face a maximum of 30 years in state prison if found guilty.
Prosecution ends their rebuttal.
Court is back in session.
Prosecution is now offering a passionate rebuttal to the defense’s closing arguments.
“He wants to play parking lot monitor with a firearm to his side. That’s not right,” said Assistant State Attorney Fred Schaub.
Schaub addresses McGlockton’s final actions by telling jurors, any “real man,” will protect his children.
“He did that and he’s dead,” said Schaub.
The defense ends their closing arguments. The state will offer their rebuttal after a 10-minute break.
The jury is brought into the court room.
Defense is prepared to deliver their closing arguments.
“Your right to stay alive is one of the most fundamental and natural rights a person has. Obviously, you know this case is hugely important. Unfortunately, we live in dangerous times,” said John Trevena.
“I think Mr. Rosenwasser made a fatal mistake in his closing argument to you,” said Trevena.
There is an objection to Trevena’s statement. The judge allows Trevena to continue.
“Here is the fatal flaw in that argument. Common sense says you don’t pull a gun unless you are going to use it. He is trying to separate the act, into separate events. It’s all one event. He pulls the gun and steadies his hand, he aims and he fires. All one event, not separated in time like the state wants to make it,” said Trevena.
Trevena says Drejka had the right to have a conversation with the victim’s girlfriend about her illegal parking.
Trevena also states Drejka was justified in pulling out his firearm after he was pushed to the ground. He goes on to play the surveillance video from the Circle A convenience store parking lot.
He notes that in the video, McGlockton is seen “hiking up” his shorts and claims that is an aggressive act.
Trevena addresses Drejka using terms such as the “21 foot rule” and “force multiplier,” during his interrogation video.
Both terms, commonly used by law enforcement officials or military personnel, were strongly questioned throughout the trial.
“His dad was a cop, why was that unusual,” said Trevena.
Defense also argues that McGlockton’s larger stature compared to Drejka’s posed as a threat.
“Mr. McGlockton’s body was the weapon in this case…Mr. McGlockton caused his own death by violently attacking a man,” said Trevena.
Trevena ends the defense’s closing arguments and addresses the jury, saying, “Mr. Drejka was trying to preserve his own life. Unfortunately, to do that, he had to use lethal force. You may not like that, or you may disagree with the law but as I said, you have sworn as jurors that you will uphold the law. You have a duty to follow the law…Use your common sense, think it through, Mr. Drejka was the victim here.”
Court is back in session.
There is a question of juror tampering.
The judge believes one of the jurors may have discussed the case with someone during their lunch break.
The issue is resolved after several minutes and court continues.
The State of Florida finishes their closing arguments.
The jury is dismissed for lunch. Court will reconvene at 1:30 p.m.
Closing arguments begin.
Prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser says there is no evidence that McGlockton was trying to murder Drejka but instead, McGlockton was retreating.
“It’s a cut and dry case, there is no misinterpreting… The video tells you the whole story. We have so much evidence it’s almost overkill,” said Rosenwasser.
Rosenwasser then goes on to call Drejka a “parking lot vigilante.”
“I submit to you, he’s a parking lot vigilante,” said Rosenwasser.
Rosenwasser then tells the court “you can’t shoot a retreating unarmed man, that’s it.”
Clips of the surveillance video from the day of the shooting and Drejka’s interrogation video are played again for the jury.
In the interrogation video, you can hear a detective ask Drejka why he decided to confront a driver parked in handicap spot instead of calling law enforcement.
“Look at his demeanor after shooting and killing someone. Look how calm he is after killing someone,” said Rosenwasser.
Prosecutor Rosenwasser tells the jury that Drejka had the intent to kill the moment McGlockton pushed him.
The judge gives the jury final instructions.
The state has a rebuttal and calls their use-of-force expert, Roy Bedard, back to the stand. They ask him to use Drejka’s gun to demonstrate and discuss the mechanics of using a firearm.
The defense rests in the case of Michael Drejka.
Court is back in session.
Attorney John Trevena introduces two final pieces of evidence. The shirt and sunglasses Drejka was wearing at the time of the shooting.
Defense reiterates Drejka didn’t talk about, touch or get his gun until he was shoved by McGlockton.
The judge asks Drejka if he would like to testify and he declined.
“I would prefer not to testify sir,” said Drejka.
Defense will enter two more pieces of evidence and closing arguments will begin.
The jury takes a 15-minute break.
Prosecution begins to cross-examine defense expert, Sean Brown.
The prosecutor asks Brown, “if you are a concealed weapon carrier you should avoid conflict?”
Brown tells him he is “correct.”
The prosecutor then discusses how CCW courses teach you to avoid conflict and confrontation and states the special duty an individual has when carrying a weapon.
The prosecutor then shifts the discussion to the importance of seeing someone’s hands before they open fire.
“The use of deadly force laws apply to both law enforcement officers and civilians,” asked Assistant State Attorney Fred Schaub.
“Correct,” said Brown.
Defense Attorney Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy calls Sean Brown, owner and CEO at Trademark Security Services, to the stand. Brown is a retired U.S. Marine and teaches concealed carry classes.
Brown is asked to discuss threat assessment and how it relates to his company. He is also asked to discuss “blading” and the “21 foot rule.” Both terms were discussed on day two of testimony.
Brown also discusses in depth “force continuum” and “force multiplier.”
During Drejka’s post-shooting interview and interrogation, he told detectives he used “force multiplier.”
On Thursday, Roy Bedard, a police trainer, explained how Drejka used the term incorrectly to justify shooting McGlockton.
“Force multiplier” is a military term that refers to tools that help amplify or produce more force.
Brown is then asked to demonstrate for the jury the Weaver Stance, a weight forward stance.
The defense’s first witness to testify on Friday is Dr. Valerie McClain.
McClain is a licensed psychologist for the State of Florida. She is asked to discuss from a psychological standpoint, what happens to a person when they are under attack.
The prosecutor argued how being able to see hands is necessary when determining a fighting stance and mentions how Drejka never saw McGlockton’s hands the day of the shooting. Instead, he mentions how Drejka only saw McGlockton’s feet.
The prosecutor then asks McClain to demonstrate an aggressive fighting stance.
Prosecution then asks defense expert, McClain, is she ever spoke with Drejka. She says she wasn’t asked to and it wasn’t her role.