ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The father of Markeis McGlockton knows the manslaughter case against the man accused of killing his unarmed son outside a Florida convenience store will take months, possibly years.
He’s talked to others who have been in a similar position — notably, the family of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Attorneys have briefed him on legal strategy.
But on Monday, there was a brief feeling of justice for McGlockton when prosecutors announced they were charging a 48-year-old white man, Michael Drejka, in the July 19 shooting of Markeis, a 28-year-old black man, during a parking lot confrontation. That videotaped shooting revived debate over Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law.
Drejka was arrested and jailed on $100,000 bail and awaited a first scheduled court appearance Tuesday afternoon. It wasn’t known if he had an attorney.
McGlockton’s family held a news conference Monday and thanked prosecutors for taking action.
“I’ve just been in, I guess, a daze because that was my baby. So today when I heard that he was getting charged, I guess I could start healing,” said his mother, Monica Moore-Robinson.
The family’s attorney, Michele Rayner, said “the ultimate goal is conviction,” and that she believed the manslaughter charge filed against Dreka was the correct charge.
McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, was seated in the couple’s car July 19 with two of their children ages 3 years and 4 months when she said Drejka confronted her for being parked in a handicapped-accessible space. McGlockton had gone into the store with the couple’s 5-year-old son, also named Markeis.
Video shows McGlockton leaving the store and shoving Drejka to the ground. Seconds later, Drejka pulls a handgun and shoots McGlockton as he backs away. McGlockton then runs back into the store clutching his chest. Witnesses said he collapsed in front of young Markeis, who was waiting inside
In court documents, McCabe and Pinellas sheriff’s Detective George Moffett cited three other drivers who said Drejka threatened them during confrontations that preceded his run-in with McGlockton. Two of them said he displayed a gun.
In separate 2012 cases, drivers reported that Drejka waved a gun at them during road rage confrontations. In both cases, officers stopped Drejka and found a gun in his car, but he denied showing it to the other drivers.
McGlockton family attorney Benjamin Crump — who gained national prominence representing the family of Trayvon Martin after the black teen’s fatal shooting by a Hispanic man in 2012 — said in a statement Monday “it’s about time” Drejka was arrested.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri originally declined to charge Drejka, saying one day after the shooting that the man was protected by Florida’s stand-your-ground law. The sheriff passed the case to prosecutors for a final decision.
The family, civil rights groups and others had been holding protests demanding Drejka be charged.
“This self-appointed wannabe cop attempted to hide behind ‘Stand Your Ground’ to defend his indefensible actions, but the truth has finally cut through,” Crump said.
The law says people can use deadly force if they believe they are in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and have no obligation to retreat. Under a change made by the Legislature last year, if a suspect raises a stand-your-ground defense, prosecutors must prove the law doesn’t apply.
Crump had represented the family of Martin, a 17-year-old black youth who was fatally shot in 2012 by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who was his Orlando-area neighborhood’s watch captain. Zimmerman had confronted Martin, who was walking back to the home of his father’s fiancee after making a purchase at a convenience store. Zimmerman said he thought Martin might be a burglar casing homes. They fought and Zimmerman fatally shot him. There were no eyewitnesses or videos. Zimmerman said he feared Martin, who was unarmed, was about to kill him and a jury acquitted him of second-degree murder.