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In a case that brought national attention to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” gun laws, a jury on Friday night convicted a license for a gun owner of murder charges after deliberating for six hours after a weeklong trial.
The suspect, Michele Drejka, was accused of the killing of Markeis McGlockton in the parking lot of a grocery store in Clearwater, fl on July 19, 2018, and after arguiing with McGlockton’s girlfriend is a handicapped parking space. Drejka, who alleged that he fatally shot McGlockton in self-defense.
In the surveillance video for the jury, McGlockton was seen emerging from the store, and pulling out Drejka on the ground. A few seconds later, Drejka pull of the standard Glock .40-caliber pistol, and shoots McGlockton, 28, as he turned away.
THE FATAL SHOOTING DEATH REIGNITES ‘STAND YOUR GROUND’ LAW DEBATE IN FLORIDA
“He was doing what he thought he was supposed to do, in the moment, in the split-second of time, in view of the fact that he was being attacked,” Drejka’s attorney, John Trevena, said in his closing argument, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “You may not agree with the law. But, you took an oath as a juror, to uphold the law.”
“He was doing what he thought he was supposed to do, in the moment, in the split-second of time, in view of the fact that he was being attacked.”
John Trevena, a lawyer for the gun’s owner, Michael Drejka
In addition to the fact that this is a test of “Stand Your Ground” law, the case took on racial dimensions as Drejka, white, and McGlockton was black.
The defendant, Michael Drejka was convicted of murder, by 2018, for a fatal shooting, despite the invocation of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as his defense. (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)
Violence and threats
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” gun law, which became law in 2005, it established the right for gun owners to apply deadly force to defend themselves against any threats, regardless of whether it is possible to go to the first one. In 2017, when state lawmakers revised the law so that the burden of proof is on the prosecutors to argue to a State Pursuant to a claim in the place of the lawyers of the defense have to prove it to you.
The long and the statute, in general, say in a shooting is justified if a reasonable person under the circumstances would have to believe that they are in danger of death or great bodily harm. But it also says that the shooter could not be at the discretion of the twist.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, in the first instance, it is not the arrest of Drejka says that the controversial law precluded it from doing so. For three weeks, it would take a while before Pinellas-Pasco state Attorney Bernie McCabe announced that his office had been formally arrested, and the charge Drejka with murder.
A number of suggestions for the politics of race has played a role in the sheriff’s initial decision not to arrest him, but Gualtieri was quick to deny those allegations.
“He also told the delegates that he was forced to shoot to defend themselves. These are the facts, and that is the law,” Gualtieri told Fox News at the time. “It doesn’t matter how you slice it, or cube it was a violent push to the ground.”
The culture of racism
But civil rights activists said the shooting, and the sheriff of the delay in the arrest of the Drejka, spoke of a culture of racism within the state of Florida. The National Rifle Association and the Republican state legislators who helped write the law, to challenge the sheriff’s interpretation of it, and all of the five Democratic candidates for governor, stood alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton on Feb. 5, 2018, with “the right to Markeis’s” rally to call for a repeal of the law.
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McGlockton, the family was very happy with the decision.
“This conviction will not bring our son back, but it does give us a sense of justice, for, all too often, the criminal justice system has failed us, because the people who are in the life of an unarmed Black people to run as if their lives meant nothing,” McGlockton’s mom, Monica Robinson, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that this conviction will be a brick in the road, in order to change the culture of racism here at Home.”
Drejka and will be sentenced in October and could be as much as 30 years in prison.
Fox News’ Allie Raffa and the Associated Press contributed to this report.