Testimony of past altercations could become admissible in Michael Drejka's trial

The prosecution in the case against Michael Drejka, the man accused of killing someone who had parked in a handicapped parking space, scored a victory Friday.

The judge will allow the jury to hear evidence regarding Drejka's past encounters over the same parking space.

Michael Drejka killed Markeis McGlockton in July of 2018. Prosecutors day Drejka had already accosted others for parking in the handicapped spot.

McGlockton was killed in front of his children at the store in July in Clearwater. Prosecutors argued his past encounters foreshadow Drejka's state of mind because the events are similar.

Prosecutors put a man named Ricky Kelly on the stand.

Kelly told the court four months before Drejka shot and killed McGlockton, in February, he found Drejka taking pictures of his septic truck. It had been parked in the store's handicapped space.

He says after Drejka confronted him, Drejka told him he wanted to shoot him for parking there.

"I said, 'Go ahead and shoot me, if it's my time, it's my time,'" Kelly told the court.

Later, Drejka called Ricky's boss and said he could have shot him. The boss told the court he found that to be overly aggressive and ended the phone call.

The state says it's relevant because it shows Drejka was looking for an excuse to use a weapon over the space.

"This adds, bolsters the fact that he had this happen. He has done this before, and he kept going," said McGlockton family attorney Michele Rayner.

The defense unsuccessfully argued that the jury should only hear what happened the day McGlockton was killed. They said the February case was irrelevant because Drejka never showed a firearm and was not attacked. 

In the end, the judge said the incident could be brought up during the trial.

However, some limitations were set.

During Kelly's testimony, Kelly said Drejka allegedly called him the worst racial epithet.

McGlockton himself is black.

Both the prosecution and the judge agreed that any discussion of that particular word would prejudice the jury and not be part of the trial.

The prosecution also lost its attempt to have an incident from 2012 included in the trial. In that allegation, in which Drejka was never charged, he allegedly waved a gun at someone in a fit of road rage.

"We will be able to, with cross-examination, flesh out more of the faults with what they are trying to introduce?" said John Trevena. "He is a convicted felon. He was partaking in activist activities with regard to having our client charged."

In comments after the hearing, both sides said the video that shows the entire killing would be the deciding factor, each in their own favor.