Clearwater, Fla. (970 WFLA) – A Pinellas County judge denied the request by attorneys for Michael Drejka to reduce the $100,000 bond set in his Manslaughter case for the controversial shooting death of Markeis McGlockton.
Drejka’s attorneys, led by Clearwater attorney Lysa Clifton, along with criminal defense attorneys Bryant Camareno of Tampa, and John Trevena of Largo, filed a motion last Friday to reduce the $100,000 bond imposed by a judge after his arrest and lift other conditions that Drejka wear a GPS monitor and not leave Pinellas County if he was able to get out of jail. He was also ordered not to have contact with the McGlockton family.
One of the main reasons for their request, according to the bond motion: the initial decision by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri not to arrest Drejka in McGlockton’s death citing Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, part of the larger umbrella of the state’s self-defense laws, that has once again come under fire.
In response, during Thursday's hearing, prosecutors told Judge Joseph Bulone that the sheriff did not have all the information that they now have when he made those remarks. That includes autopsy results that reportedly show McGlockton was shot at an angle while they say he was turning away from Drejka.
Drejka gave a statement and did a re-enactment of the shooting with the lead detective according to the arrest report, something prosecutors also relied on in arguing against any bond reduction.
Another reason set out by Drejka’s lawyers in their motion is that the bond set in Drejka’s case is “unaffordable and unfair given the cooperation of Mr. Drejka.” Attorney John Trevena revealing in court on Thursday that Dreyka is disabled and could not work at his former job in response to prosecutors claims that Dreyka has not worked since he was 37 years old. He is currently 48.
They also point out the fact that Drejka had a concealed weapons permit and shot McGlockton in self-defense.
Drejka’s lawyers also say that he should be allowed to post a lower bond so he can take care of his family and personal affairs, and prepare for his trial – including a possible “Stand Your Ground” defense.
Under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law that would include his attorneys potentially filing a motion to dismiss the charges before the case went to trial. Prosecutors would then have the burden of proving that Drejka was not justified in shooting McGlockton, as he claims it was done in self-defense.
Another reason for lowering his bond according to his attorneys, is that Drejka is not a danger to the victim’s family or society in the three weeks between the shooting and the decision by the Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney’s Office to charge Drejka with Manslaughter last week.
No mention is made of three separate incidents detailed in the arrest affidavit written by the lead detective with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, filed with the official charging document when Drejka was arrested. Prosecutors laid out each of those incidents along with a fourth incident where Drejka was accused of intentionally braking in front of another driver in 2013.
One of those incidents reportedly occurred three months before McGlockton was shot, happening in the same place where McGlockton was shot.
It happened in the same parking lot at the Circle A convenience store when a septic truck driver was confronted by Drejka over the driver parking in a handicapped parking space. Drejka reportedly yelled racial slurs as the driver got in his truck and left the store when he saw Drejka retrieve something from the center console of his vehicle.
Prosecutors went on to say that Drejka called the driver’s supervisor indicating that the supervisor was lucky that Drejka did not shoot the driver.
A similar confrontation between Drejka and McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, also led to McGlockton being shot when he shoved Drejka to the ground during that argument. Analysis of the surveillance video of the shooting detailed by the lead detective, and released to the public, arguably shows McGlockton turning away from Drejka when he pulled out a gun and fired one shot, striking McGlockton in the chest. He stumbled back into the convenience store where his 5-year-old son had gone inside with him and collapsed.
McGlockton was pronounced dead at a local hospital after the shooting.
Two other road-rage type incidents are also documented in the arrest report from 2012. The first involving two teenage drivers that say Drejka pulled a gun at them at a red light in January 2012.
The other involves a female driver who says Drejka allegedly pointed a gun at her and other passengers in Largo in December of 2012 because they were driving too slow through a school zone. Drejka did not face charges in either incident. The two teens, according to the report, did not want to press charges. The other female driver left the scene after reporting her encounter to police.
Judge Bulone also brought up Drejka's defense team and whether he was satisfied with them working on his case.
He said he was.
Drejka's next court date will be on October 19th.
If convicted at trial, Drjeka is facing a maximum of 30 years in prison. Since the use of a firearm is tied to the Manslaughter charge, under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, it becomes a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years.