PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Closing arguments and jury deliberations in the Michael Drejka trial could take place as soon as Friday.
Thursday marked day two of testimony in the controversial manslaughter trial.
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):
Judge announces closing arguments and jury deliberations will take place as soon as tomorrow.
Court has adjourned for the day.
Defense redirects questioning to their expert witness, Dr. Daniel E. Buffington.
Dr. Daniel E. Buffington states the neurological side effects consistent with MDMA and MDA include being impulsive, agitation, aggression, emotional instability, paranoia, confusion and altered perceptions.
Buffington testifies that McGlockton had a substantial amount of MDMA in his system, which in turn caused a lapse in judgment.
Prosecution proceeds to cross-examine Buffington, challenging his qualifications, his practice and his income for the next hour.
Court is back in session.
Defense Attorney Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy calls Dr. Daniel E. Buffington to the stand. Buffington, with the Center for Forensic Pharmacology, is also faculty at the University of South Florida’s Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Buffington is addressing the drugs found in McGlockton’s system and explains the effects of MDMA and how it could have impacted the victim’s judgment and behavior. He says while some may refer to MDMA as the “love drug,” some refer to it as the “thug drug.”
“It’s a Pandora’s box of effects,” said Buffington.
The defense prepared a power-point presentation of McGlockton’s lab results to support Buffington’s testimony.
The State of Florida rests in the case of Michael Drejka.
Jurors take a 10-minute break.
Court is back in session.
Defense Attorney Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy is now addressing Dr. Golberger and asks if the level of drugs in McGlockton’s system would be consistent with impairment.
Golberger agrees that what was found in McGlockton system would be consistent with impairment.
He compares McGlockton pushing Drejka as “a schoolyard push” and believes McGlockton took the MDMA about an hour before the fatal incident occurred.
Ultimately, Golberger tells Jean-Pierre Coy that he doesn’t connect the use of MDMA with aggressive activity or behavior.
Jurors take a 10-minute break.
The state calls their 19th witness, Dr. Bruce Golberger, Director of Forensic Toxicology at the University of Florida.
The State is asking Golberger to explain the findings in McGlockton’s toxicology report.
Golberger notes that MDMA, or ecstasy, was in McGlockton system with a concentration of 459.5 ng/mL at the time of the shooting. MDA was also detected in his system with a concentration of 37.6 ng/mL.
Golberger says MDMA is a classic stimulate and is “quite unique.” He says the drug is euphoric and increases empathy for others. He says the drug, also known as the “love drug,” would have made McGlockton feel more “at peace” instead of aggressive.
Golberger states that he reviewed the surveillance video from the day of the shooting and observes that McGlockton didn’t seem to be under the influence and “looked completely normal” and “backed away very quickly” when Drejka pulled out his firearm.
Dr. Noel Palma demonstrates on the prosecutor the direction of McGlockton’s gunshot wound and exit wound. He states the path of the bullet hit McGlockton’s left lung, heart and right lung. Palma states this would have “caused death pretty quickly.”
Palma then discusses McGlockton’s toxicology report noting MDA and MDMA was found in his system.
Dr. Noel Palma, Forensic Pathologist and Associate Medial Examiner for Pinellas and Pasco Counties, takes the stand.
Palma states he preformed McGlockton’s autopsy on July 20, 2018, at 10 a.m.
Palma said he began by taking the victim’s height and weight and took pictures of his external injuries. He then proceeded with an x-ray and internal exam by dissecting McGlockton’s organs.
During Palma’s examination of McGlockton’s body, he says he observed a gunshot wound to his chest.
Enlarged photos of McGlockton’s body are displayed in court to show the entry and exit wounds from the bullet.
Jurors return from lunch.
Testimony from use-of-force expert Roy Bedard continues. Bedard explains about threat assessments and how officers evaluate threats.
During Drejka’s post-shooting interview and interrogation, he told detectives he used “force multiplier.”
Bedard explains 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.
Bedard then addressed the “21-foot rule” Drejka also referenced during his interrogation.
The “21-foot rule” refers to the time it takes an officer to address a threat and then draw their gun from their holster. Bedard states, once again, Drejka used the term incorrectly.
The jury breaks for lunch.
Court will reconvene at 12:55 p.m.
The state calls its next witness, Roy Bedard, a police trainer.
Bedard explains that he is called upon to give an opinion on use-of-force and defensive tactics.
Bedard claims that in past cases, he has been called upon at least 25 times to testify as a use-of-force and defensive tactics expert.
The next witness, Natasha Meade is called to the stand. Meade is a Forensic Specialist with the PSCO.
Meade states that her job is to document crime scenes through photos and video. She was asked to take pictures of the defendant at the PCSO station after he was brought in on July 19, 2018.
Drejka explains the day of the shooting in his own words. He states that he walked around the car of Britany Jacobs, the girlfriend of McGlockton, who police say parked in the handicap spot.
Drejka says he approached the car and Jacobs asked him what he was doing.
Drejka shows detectives how close he was to Jacobs car.
Detectives ask Drejka why he didn’t just call law enforcement about the illegal parking.
Drejka was asked how long was it before he pulled out a gun? Drejka tells detectives it seemed like a split-second. Prosecutors say a gun was pulled about three to four seconds after the victim shoved Drejka to the ground.
“So after he shoved you and you fell to the ground…and then grab your firearm, for what reason,” asks Detective Redman.
“Because I fell,” said Drejka.
“What did you think he was going to do,” said Redman.
“I’m thinking he is going to finish what the hell he just started,” said Drejka.
Detective Redman tells Drejka, McGlockton is deceased. Drejka thanks Redman for telling about McGlockton and then immediately mentions Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.
“I did exactly what I thought I was supposed to be doing at that time considering what was happening to myself,” said Drejka.
Detective Richard Redman with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office takes the stand. Redman states he works in the robbery and homicide unit and his responsibility the day of the shooting was to interview Drejka at the PCSO’s North District Station.
Redman states that he recorded the interview with the defendant.
The interview is now being played for the jury. They have also been provided a transcript of the interview.
The interview is about an hour long.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Detective James Upton takes the stand. Upton states that he was in the robbery/homicide at the time of the incident.
Upton states Drejka signed a Miranda Rights waiver before speaking with police.
The surveillance video from the shooting was played for the jury, showing McGlockton forcibly push Drejka to the ground. The video shows Drejka then take out a handgun and fire a single round at McGlockton, hitting him in the chest.
The video was played for the jury at regular speed and in slow motion.
The first witness to testify on Thursday was Joseph Soutllo, Media Forensics Specialist for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Soutllo explained how he developed, collected and preserved surveillance video from the July 19, 2018 shooting.