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Manslaughter Charges Filed In Pinellas County Parking Lot Shooting

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Recently, I wrote an article discussing how the Stand Your Ground Law was about to be tested again in the State of Florida.

Back in July, 47-year-old Michael Drejka, shot and killed Markeis McGlockton in a Pinellas County convenience store parking lot after Drejka argued with McGlockton's girlfriend over her having parked in a handicapped space.

McGlockton observed the argument, gave Drejka a forceful shove to the ground, and Drejka pulled out his concealed firearm and shot McGlockton fatally in the chest.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office initially refused to arrest on the basis of Stand Your Ground immunity, but upon further review by the State Attorney's Office, a charge of manslaughter with a firearm was filed.

Drejka faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison with a 25-year mandatory minimum term applied for use, discharge, and death or injury caused by the firearm.  This mandatory sentence exists under Florida's 10-20-Life Statute.

Drejka was arrested and taken into custody.  Manslaughter is a bondable offense, so a bond of $100,000 was set by the Court.

No doubt this case will continue to test the limits of Stand Your Ground immunity.  However, the surveillance video footage shows that McGlockton began to retreat after the shove, and after Drejka had brandished his weapon.  Realistically, Drejka could have stopped right there.  He displayed the firearm out of fear, and McGlockton was retreating.  However, after a four-second pause where McGlockton was moving away from Drejka, Drejka fired.

That is why he was charged with manslaughter.  The State Attorney believed that any threat that McGlockton posed had dissipated and that the use of deadly force was no longer reasonable.

Eric Matheny is a Miami-Dade County criminal defense attorney.