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Prison inmate attacked Michael Drejka over death of Markeis McGlockton, report says

Prison officials and McGlockton’s family say the inmate, Benjamin Martin, is not a relative of the man killed over a parking space in 2018.
Benjamin Martin, 31, left, attacked Clearwater parking lot shooter Michael Drejka, 49, right, while they were inmates at Lancaster Correctional Institutional on Feb. 11, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
Benjamin Martin, 31, left, attacked Clearwater parking lot shooter Michael Drejka, 49, right, while they were inmates at Lancaster Correctional Institutional on Feb. 11, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. [ Florida Department of Corrections ]
Published Feb. 27, 2020
Updated Feb. 27, 2020

The inmate accused of attacking and injuring Clearwater parking lot shooter Michael Drejka said it was in retaliation for the death that landed Drejka in prison: Markeis McGlockton.

Benjamin Martin struck Drejka with a combination lock attached to a sock on Feb. 11 while both were inmates at Lancaster Correctional Institutional near Gainesville, according to a Florida Department of Corrections report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

Martin, 31, of St. Petersburg, told prison officials he attacked Drejka because he “shot and killed his brother Markeis McGlockton on the street," the report said. Prison investigators said they’ve found no record that Martin is a relative of McGlockton, a 28-year-old father of four from Clearwater who was killed in a 2018 dispute over a parking space.

Related: Michael Drejka attacked in prison, isolated from other inmates, officials say
Michael Drejka is taken into custody after he was sentenced in October to 20 years in prison for the 2018 shooting death of Markeis McGlockton.
Michael Drejka is taken into custody after he was sentenced in October to 20 years in prison for the 2018 shooting death of Markeis McGlockton. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

Michele Rayner-Goolsby, an attorney who represents McGlockton’s family, said his parents weren’t aware of any friendship or other social connection between Martin and their son. They were “shocked” at the news of Drejka’s attack, she said. Rayner-Goolsby declined to comment further.

Drejka, 49, sustained a head injury that needed five stitches, his attorneys said. He was placed in protective custody and relocated to an annex of the Columbia Correctional Institution outside of Lake City, according to prison records.

One of the attorneys who represented Drejka at his 2019 trial implored prison officials to press criminal charges against Martin.

“I just hope and pray that the Department of Corrections continues to ensure Mr. Drejka’s safety in the future,” defense attorney John Trevena said.

Martin is facing prison sanctions on charges of aggravated battery on an inmate and possession of a weapon. The Department of Corrections’ Office of Inspector General is investigating the incident for possible criminal charges. Pending the results of the internal and criminal investigations, Martin will remain in confinement, meaning he is in a cell by himself away from the prison’s general population.

Related: The Clearwater parking lot shooting: Everything you need to know about the case
A surveillance video recorded  the shooting of Markeis McGlockton by Michael Drejka [Screengrab from video provided by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
A surveillance video recorded the shooting of Markeis McGlockton by Michael Drejka [Screengrab from video provided by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

The attack took place at about 12:30 p.m. in a hallway outside a prison dorm, the report said. A correctional officer saw Martin repeatedly striking Drejka with the weighted sock. The officer told Martin to stop, but he didn’t. Then another responding officer ordered him to stop, and Martin complied.

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Martin has been in prison since June 2019, serving a 6-year sentence on drug trafficking charges, according to records.

McGlockton was living with his girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, and children near Largo at the time of his death. He was raised in Clearwater but attended a St. Petersburg middle school, then went to Boca Ciega High School.

Drejka shot McGlockton July 19, 2018, in the parking lot of the Circle A Food Store near Clearwater. While McGlockton was inside the store, Drejka confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend over why she had parked in a handicap-reserved parking space. The argument escalated, McGlockton walked out of the store and shoved Drejka to the ground. Drejka then pulled out a gun and shot him.

The shooting sparked national attention after Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri declined to arrest Drejka, saying his actions were protected by Florida’s stand-your-ground law. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office disagreed, charging him with manslaughter three weeks later.

Jurors convicted him of the charge at the end of a week-long trial in August. A judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information from the Florida Department of Corrections.

Related: Michael Drejka convicted of manslaughter in Markeis McGlockton’s death
Related: Michael Drejka sentenced to 20 years in parking lot shooting
Michael McGlockton holds a photograph of his son Markeis McGlockton Sr., who was shot and killed in 2018 in a dispute over a parking spot.
Michael McGlockton holds a photograph of his son Markeis McGlockton Sr., who was shot and killed in 2018 in a dispute over a parking spot.