LARGO — Clearwater parking lot shooter Michael Drejka is set to be sentenced today. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
The 10:30 a.m. sentencing hearing comes about six weeks after jurors convicted Drejka, 49, of manslaughter in the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, a 28-year-old father of four. McGlockton’s family will, for the first time, have the opportunity to address Drejka directly about how his crime impacted their lives.
McGlockton’s father previously told the Tampa Bay Times he hopes to see his son’s killer get the maximum sentence.
“He killed my son. So for me, an eye for an eye. A life for a life,” said Michael McGlockton, 47. “But in this case, life is not on the table, so ... I think he should get the max.”
Today’s hearing will be the last stop, for now, in a case that grabbed headlines from the start and became a referendum on self-defense.
Drejka’s lawyers last month appealed the conviction, asking the court for a new trial. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone denied that request Sept. 24, court records show. Drejka can still appeal to higher courts.
The series of events that led up to the July 19, 2018, shooting began when McGlockton and his family parked in a handicap-reserved parking space outside the Circle A Food Store on Sunset Point Road. McGlockton went inside with his 5-year-old son while his girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, waited in the car with their other children.
Drejka then pulled into the parking lot and confronted Jacobs about why she had parked in the spot without a handicap plate or placard. They began arguing, and McGlockton, catching wind of the conflict, returned to the parking lot. He walked up to Drejka and shoved him to the ground. Drejka then pulled out a Glock handgun and shot McGlockton in the chest.
Doctors pronounced McGlockton dead at Morton Plant Hospital.
The case drew national attention when Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced he would not arrest Drejka, saying his hands were tied by Florida’s divisive stand your ground law.
Drejka is white. McGlockton was black and unarmed. Prominent civil rights attorneys signed on to represent McGlockton’s girlfriend and family members, and protesters marched in Clearwater.
A six-person jury took about 6½ hours to convict Drejka. Jurors who have spoken publicly said their decision was based on a surveillance video that captured the confrontation and shooting.
“That looped video we watched at least two or three hundred times," juror James Ryan previously told the Times.
Stay with tampabay.com and follow Times writer Kathryn Varn on Twitter @kathrynvarn for updates from the sentencing hearing.