Sheriff will not testify in Drejka case

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)- Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri will not have to testify in the Michael Drejka case. A judge granted a protective order that essentially means the sheriff will not take the stand.

Drejka Sheriff witness

Drejka is no longer using the “Stand Your Ground” defense in the 2018 shooting of Markeis McGlockton.

Drejka fatally shot McGlockton, 28, after the two were involved in an altercation over parking in a handicapped parking spot outside of a Clearwater convenience store on July 19, and Drejka was initially not arrested due to Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

After the shooting, Sheriff Gualtieri made several comments indicating he believed the shooting was justified.

“He said when he’s on the ground, because he’s in fear, that the next thing that’s going to happen is he is going to be reattacked by McGlockton and he felt he was in peril and he needed to shoot to defend himself,” Gualtieri said at the time. “The law in the state of Florida, today, is that people have a right to stand their ground and have a right to defend themselves.”

Shannon Lockhart, an attorney for the sheriff’s office told the judge she didn’t believe the sheriff’s testimony would be appropriate in a criminal trial.

“So what happened at that press conference, where he said at this stage at least 14 times, of what he was doing, was his opinion of what the law was and what the video showed,” said Lockhart. “Nothing in there would be admissable for an expert to testify.”

Another pretrial hearing is scheduled to take place next Friday at 1:30.

Jury selection in Drejka’s trial on manslaughter charges is scheduled to begin on August 19th.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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