A Pinellas County man who was convicted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a Black man during a convenience store parking lot dispute was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday.
Michael Drejka, 48, was arrested last year and charged with manslaughter in the July 19, 2018 shooting death of 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton, right.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone sentenced Drejka after listening to witness impact statements from McGlockton's family members, including his parents and Britany Jacobs, the mother of his four children.
"The defendant's weakness, his cowardice and his anger are the reasons Markeis is dead," said Jacobs, reading from a prepared statement. "Think about raising four children alone without their daddy. Without Markeis my world can never be whole again," said Jacobs.
She asked Judge Bulone to sentence Drejka to a maximum of 30 years.
Judge Bulone, who described Drejka as a "wannabe cop," refused the defense's request for a lenient sentence such as house arrest.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri initially refused to arrest Drejka, citing Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law that allows licensed gun owners to use deadly force if they feel threatened -- even if the other person is unarmed.
Drejka confronted McGlockton's girlfriend Britany Jacobs for parking in a handicapped spot outside the store. McGlockton, who was unarmed, was shot when he rushed out of the store to defend Jacobs.
Surveillance camera footage shows McGlockton shove Drejka to the ground. Drejka then shot McGlockton in the chest as McGlockton backed away from him.
Black residents complained to police that Drejka, who is white, threatened them and shouted racial slurs after they parked in the same handicapped spot.
Drejka was described as a menace to society who waved his gun at other drivers during road rage incidents.