McGlockton’s Family ‘Can Finally Rest Now’ After Drejka Verdict
Updated 8/24 at 10 a.m.:
The family of the man fatally shot in a Clearwater parking lot expressed a sense of thanks and justice Friday night after his shooter was convicted on a manslaughter charge.
The family of Markeis McGlockton, 28, wept in the courtroom as the verdict was read, and hugged and shook hands with the prosecutors as Michael Drejka, 49, was led out in handcuffs and the court was adjourned.
“It’s been well over a year since we’ve been dealing with this matter and I can safely say my family can rest now,” McGlockton's father, Michael McGlockton, told reporters outside the courthouse a short time after the verdict was read. “Now we can start putting the pieces back together and move on."
Six jurors deliberated for more than six hours before convicting Drejka for the July 19, 2018, death of McGlockton. He faces 30 years in prison and will be held without bond until his sentencing hearing in October.
"This conviction doesn't bring our son back, but it does give us some sense of justice because far too often the criminal justice system fails us by allowing people who take the lives of unarmed black people to walk free as though their lives meant nothing," McGlockton's mother, Monica Robinson, said in a statement. "We are hopeful that this conviction will be a brick in the road to changing the culture of racism here in Florida."
READ MORE: Michael Drejka coverage on WUSF Public Media
After thanking his attorney, Michele Rayner-Goolsby, as well as the prosecution team, Michael McGlockton thanked the community for their support.
“I also want to thank the community for sticking by us. I’ve been to every rally, doing all the things they needed to do to help keep us uplifted in this time of grief that we’ve been going through,” Michael McGlockton said. “But we want to thank all of you and thank everybody who has been behind us, and please continue to support us, because this is not over.”
Said Rayner-Goolsby: “We’re thankful that the jury got it right, that the jury saw what everybody saw in that video. That a parking lot vigilante with an ax to grind murdered Markeis McGlockton in cold blood.”
“Markeis McGlockton was needlessly and wrongfully killed by this parking lot vigilante,” said Ben Crump, the attorney for Markeis McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs. “The jury in this case sent a crystal clear message – violent racism has no place in American society. Today’s verdict marks a victory over stand your ground.”
Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy, an attorney representing Drejka, expressed her condolences to the McGlockton family and said that while she was disappointed in the verdict, she was "happy they received the justice they were seeking."
Coy and defense attorney John Trevena told reporters that they will likely appeal the verdict.
Trevena told reporters he didn't know why the jury convicted Drejka, saying "it's a mystery" to him. He also indicated he expected Drejka to receive less than the maximum of 30 years in prison when sentenced.
When asked on what grounds he expected an appeal to be filed, Trevena simply replied, "multiple grounds."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.