LARGO, Fla. (FOX 13) - Opening statements and testimony in the manslaughter trial of Michael Drejka got underway Wednesday.
There were some high-drama moments, including a reenactment of the shooting by one of the prosecutors.
The jury got two perspectives on what happened the day Drejka shot and killed Markeis McGlockton during a dispute, in a Clearwater convenience store parking lot, over a handicapped parking spot.
Prosecutors say Drejka was a ticking time bomb who was looking for a fight.
Drejka’s defense team said their client had seconds to react during a confrontation he feared would end his life.
Prosecutor Fred Schaub started by telling the jury about a statement Drejka made five months before he shot and killed McGlockton.
“I can’t help myself. It always gets me into trouble,” Schaub quoted Drejka saying about his own behavior.
But it is the store surveillance video of the fatal shooting that will be the crux of the case.
Schaub urged the jury to watch the video frame by frame.
“Watch the video. Markeis walks out calmly. Doesn’t run. Walks out,” Schaub described, adding McGlockton pushed Drejka to the ground, but when he saw the gun, he backed away.
Schaub fell to the courtroom floor to demonstrate for the jury Drejka’s lack of hesitation to shoot McGlockton.
“Mr. McGlockton was not armed. He didn’t have a gun. He didn’t have a weapon,” explained Schaub.
Drejka’s defense attorney, Bryant Camareno said McGlockton was the clear aggressor that day, causing his client to fear for his life.
“While Mr. McGlockton, rest his soul, was not armed, he was the weapon. He was the weapon,” said Camareno.
He also urged the jury to watch the video, but not in slow motion as prosecutors fought to allow jury members to see. In real time, Camareno said, it is clear Drejka had only 11 seconds to save his own life.
The jury also heard from McGlockton girlfriend and the mother his children, who was pregnant at the time of the shooting.
Britany Jacobs said she remembers Drejka approaching her car, demanding she move out of the handicap spot.
“I said, ‘Do you want me to get my man?’ and he said, ‘If you want him to fight,’” she told the jury.
Jacobs testified she then watched as McGlockton walked out of the store.
“I heard him say, ‘Get away from my girl,’ and then I saw a gun,” explained Jacobs.
Jacobs said she watched as Drejka shot her boyfriend.
Truck driver Richard Kelly also testified Wednesday, recalling a confrontation he had with Drejka five months earlier, after he too parked in a handicap spot.
He said Drejka threatened to kill him.
“’I should shoot you, kill you,’ and I said, ‘I’m not afraid to die,’” recalled Kelly.
Kelly said he eventually got back in his truck and drove off.
The trial is expected to last two weeks.