CLEARWATER, Fla. — The girlfriend of a man who was fatally shot in a Florida parking lot last year during a confrontation over a handicapped-accessible space took the stand Wednesday in the gunman’s manslaughter trial, recounting how she feared for her own safety before the argument grew heated.
Britany Jacobs gave her first public account of what she says occurred at the Clearwater convenience store parking lot in July 2018. The longtime girlfriend of Markeis McGlockton, 28, said she had pulled into the handicapped-accessible spot with McGlockton and their young children, and as she waited for him to run inside and grab snacks, a man began walking around her car.
She cracked her window open, she said, and got into an argument with the defendant, Michael Drejka, when he questioned why she was parked in that spot.
“I just wanted this man to leave me alone,” she said. “Leave me and my babies alone.”
She said she told Drejka: “Do you want me to get my man?”
The statement, she told prosecutors, was her way to scare off Drejka. But they continued to argue, and Jacobs, 26, said Drejka agreed she should call her boyfriend over if she wanted a fight.
“It was loud,” Jacobs said of their spat, which caught the attention of witnesses. “Everybody was noticing at the time.”
Jacobs’ testimony detailed the moment when Drejka shot McGlockton and how McGlockton “was fighting for his life” in the aftermath.
During their opening statements, prosecutors attempted to paint Drejka, 48, as the aggressor and that his decision to shoot McGlockton was unjustified. They also said that Drejka made it his business to patrol the handicapped-accessible space, even though he didn’t work at the convenience store.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office did not initially arrest Drejka, who has a concealed weapons license, citing self-defense under the state’s “stand your ground” law. But almost a month later, prosecutors filed manslaughter charges against Drejka.
Drejka’s defense team Wednesday countered that it was Jacobs who was the aggressor in the case, and “not once did Mr. Drejka threaten” either McGlockton or Jacobs.
Although McGlockton “had no weapon,” defense attorney Bryant Camareno told the court, “he was the weapon,” referring to his 190-pound muscular frame.
After McGlockton was alerted to the argument occurring outside, he went to the parking lot and immediately pushed Drejka — an action that was caught on surveillance camera.