CLEARWATER, Fla. — On Friday, defense attorneys offered what might be a glimpse at part of the defense strategy for parking lot shooter Michael Drejka.
Drejka is charged with killing 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton after the two argued over a parking space in Clearwater.
Lab results show McGlockton had the drug ecstasy in his bloodstream when he was shot and killed by Drejka July 19.
Now, lawyers for Drejka appear ready to make that part of the 48-year old's defense.
“Well, it’s definitely going to play a role in the case,” said Drejka defense attorney John Trevena. “We believe a toxicology expert will testify that his use of illegal drugs, particularly surrounding the time of this incident, could very well have contributed to his aggressive behavior.
Originally, investigators didn't press charges against Drejka, who claimed he was standing his ground when he argued with McGlockton over a disabled person parking space.
McGlockton pushed Drejka to the ground. Drejka pulled a gun and fired.
But after weeks of protest, prosecutors said video of the incident appeared to show McGlockton was retreating, and then charged Drejka with manslaughter.
Studies, say Drejka’s defense lawyers, have suggested people who use ecstasy have a heightened state of emotional empathy and aggression.
“The truth is he was under the influence of drugs,” said Trevena. “The truth is he attacked my client.”
Lawyers could try to argue that McGlockton overacted – that his emotions got the best of him when he came to his girlfriend Britany Jacobs' defense that day, and showed an abnormal level of aggression when he shoved Drejka to the ground.
An attorney for McGlockton's family called the strategy irrelevant, low and classless.
“Actually, has nothing to do with the matter at hand,” said attorney Michelle Rayner. “It's just another way for the defense to muddy the water and to assassinate Mr. McGlockton's character.”
Drejka has been free on bond, but a condition of that release is that he maintain a local address.
At Friday’s pre-trial hearing, his lawyers told the court it was impossible for Drejka and his wife to find housing in Pinellas County given his notoriety.
They asked for permission look for a place in Pasco County as well with the same conditions and same ankle monitoring.
The court granted the request with no objection from prosecutors.
“He has abided by all the conditions of his bond. There have been no problems,” said Trevena. “So, we don't expect any issues there.”
“As long as he stays away from the McGlockton family and Miss Jacobs, and does not hurt anybody else,” said Rayner, “Because he can't seem to control himself.”
Drejka's next pre-trial hearing has been set for April 26. His defense lawyers plan to ask the court not to allow testimony about any previous run-ins or bad behavior Drejka allegedly showed with other people before the day he shot McGlockton.
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