CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - In one of the most closely-watched cases in the state, the defense has decided it will not pursue a ‘stand your ground’ defense, which could have granted their client immunity from prosecution.
After defendant Michael Drejka's attorney's announced they are ready to skip a ‘stand your ground’ hearing process and proceed to trial in August, drama ensued outside the courthouse.
Drejka is accused of gunning down Markeis McGlockton during a confrontation over a handicapped parking spot at a convenience store in Clearwater last year. Surveillance video shows McGlockton shove Drejka to the ground. Drejka responds by pulling out his gun and firing one shot, killing McGlockton.
Drejka was not arrested right away. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the evidence showed Drejka may have been standing his ground, which, the law states, grants him immunity from prosecution. But later, the State Attorney’s Office’s charged Drejka with manslaughter, a decision which Sheriff Gualtieri said he supported.
After Friday’s hearing, there was some drama outside the courthouse. McGlockton’s father, Michael McGlockton apparently confronted Drejka, making what some say was a threat of violence.
One of the prosecutors in the case said he heard the alleged threat and ran over to separate the two.
Mr. McGlockton was allegedly heard saying to Drejka: "You're a coward. You shot an innocent man. My face is the last face you will ever see."
Defense attorney Anthony Rickman, who is not connected to the case, says the defense could file a restraining order against Mr. McGlockton, preventing him from being in the courtroom during the trial of his son’s shooter.
But Rickman does see a more likely scenario.
"The defense attorney could raise the issue with the court and ask the judge to advise all parties to have no contact with each other," explained Rickman.
During the confrontation, witnesses say the prosecutor told Mr. McGlockton to stop, saying his actions could compromise the case.
It is unclear what the defense team plans to do after this confrontation. FOX 13 has reached out to Drejka's attorney but has not heard back.