Oct. 10 (UPI) — A Florida judge on Thursday handed down a 20-year sentence to a man who fatally shot another man during a quarrel over a handicap-accessible parking spot last year.
The punishment comes more than a month after a jury found Michael Drejka guilty of manslaughter for killing Markeis McGlockton on July 19, 2018, in Clearwater, Fla.
The incident occurred outside a Circle A Food Store after Drejka confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, over being parked with her two children in a handicap-accessible spot. McGlockton came out of the store and pushed Drejka to the ground.
Drejka told detectives he opened fire after McGlockton shoved him to the ground and took a step toward him, but security video showed the victim was actually stepping away from him.
Pinellas County Judge Joseph Bulone said Drejka didn’t show remorse for shooting McGlockton. He gave Drejka credit for three months he already served in jail.
The case sparked national debate over Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Drejka, who didn’t take the witness stand, used the law as a defense for justifiable homicide.
The law, which went into effect in Florida in 2005, allows people to use lethal force if they believe they need to do so “to prevent imminent death.”
The controversial law previously gained widespread attention in 2013 during trial for the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was found not guilty in the fatal shooting of Martin, resulting in protests against the verdict.
Sommer Brokaw contributed to this report.