LARGO, Fla. (FOX 13) - The jury has found Michael Drejka guilty of manslaughter for the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton during a dispute over a handicap parking space at a convenience store in Clearwater.
Watch the verdict being read in court on Facebook.
Drejka showed little emotion after the verdict was ready shortly after 10:30 Friday night. The trial lasted three days with the jury deliberating fewer than eight hours Friday evening.
The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation before Drejka will be sentenced, which was scheduled for October 10. Drejka is being held without bond until the sentencing.
The family of victim Michael McGlockton issued a statement, saying in part:
“While nothing will ever heal the pain Markeis McGlockton’s family feels, today is the first day since his passing they have experienced any semblance of peace and for that we are very grateful."
The defense and prosecution made their final arguments in the case. Prosecutors called Drejka “the enforcer” of the Circle A convenience store in Clearwater.
%INLINE%Prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser told the jury during closing arguments Drejka was a parking lot vigilante who took matters into his own hands and killed Markeis McGlockton.
"You can’t shoot an unarmed man,” said a passionate Rosenwasser.
During his arguments, there were several moments where Prosecutor Rosenwasser incorrectly called the victim, Markeis McGlockton, by the name Michael.
Rosenwasser acknowledged the mistake to the jury after his co-counsel handed him a note.
“If at any time I called him Michael, I apologize,” said Rosenwasser.
The prosecutor also pointed out to the jury Drejka lied several times during his police interview including, when Drejka claimed the victim's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs started the confrontation.
Before wrapping up his closings, Rosenwasser concluded with a heartbreaking thought for the jury.
“The only thing Markeis McGlockton is guilty is of is trying to protect his family,” added Rosenwasser.
The jury began deliberations after 4 p.m. Friday.
Alternate juror Keith Booe, who was released when jurors began deliberations, told reporters he thought Markeis McGlockton's shove might have been "excessive," but did not warrant deadly force.
%INLINE%"I’d certainly be nervous about getting shoved and you could argue whether that shove was justifiable," Booe said. "I think it was. It might have been excessive. He had the chance to not kill him. There’s no reason to do it."
The defense tried its best to sway the jury in the opposite direction.
"I think most relevant is the push. From the defense perspective in this case, once McGlockton put hands on Drejka, game over," defense attorney John Trevena said.
The jury ordered dinner shortly after 9 p.m., signaling they were prepared for a long night.
Around 9:30, the jury announced they had a question for the judge, which the judge requested the jury be brought back into the courtroom to clarify.
The judge, reading from a piece of paper, said, "And it says, 'Clarification: If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense, you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether Michael Drejka was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find him not guilty.' And then you skip a couple lines and it says, 'Reasonable doubt that the use of deadly force was justified, you should find them not guilty,' the judge finished reading, adding, "And what exactly would you like from the court?"
A juror responded saying, "So, we had trouble understanding that statement, cuz it doesn't, I guess it just doesn't make sense to us."
The judge responded he was only legally permitted to re-read the justifiable deadly force instruction.
It was revealed Friday Drejka decided to not testify in the trial. The decision came a day after prosecutors played an hourlong video of Drejka being questioned by detectives, recorded hours after Drejka shot and killed 28-year-old McGlockton.
Last July, Drejka approached Jacobs, who was parked in a handicap spot at the Circle A store in Clearwater, and demanded she move her car.
When she refused, Jacobs' longtime boyfriend and children's father, Markeis McGlokton walked out of the store and shoved Drejka.
After hitting the ground Drejka shot and killed McGlockton.
Drejka claimed McGlockton took a step toward him, causing him to fear for his life.