PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Five men and one woman will decide the fate of Michael Drejka in the high-profile manslaughter trial.
Day two of jury selection had lawyers for both the state and defense asking prospective jurors some tough — and at times — personal questions, as they worked to find a panel of six jurors and four alternates.
Drejka, 49, is charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton outside a Clearwater convenience store in July 2018.
The two men had gotten into an argument when Drejka started arguing with McGlockton‘s girlfriend, who had parked in a disabled parking space.
McGlockton is seen pushing Drejka to the ground. Drejka drew a gun and fired.
The entire incident was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras. At question is whether McGlockton had turned away from Drejka — and was retreating — when Drejka fired. And whether Drejka still — as he has claimed — was still being threatened.
When the death of McGlockton, who was a black American man and unarmed, hit the airwaves, it sparked national attention. The incident brought back the discussions about Florida’s “stand your ground” immunity, which the sheriff's office initially used as grounds not to arrest Drejka. After reviewing the case, the state attorney's office eventually decided to charge Drejka with manslaughter. Drejka ultimately decided not to try to use "stand your ground" immunity to shield himself from prosecution. Rather, his attorneys opted to proceed straight to trial with a standard self-defense case.
Lawyers spent the afternoon asking specific questions of the remaining 43 potential jurors.
One of those questions tapped into race. Lawyers wanted to know if potential jurors would have any problem with the racial components in the case.
The line of questioning also required potential jurors to share how they spend their free time. They wanted to know everything from whether they watch TV crime shows to their feelings about gun ownership. Questions also ranged from where they get their local and national news from and whether they themselves have ever been in a self-defense situation.
The plan was to have four alternates, but three people have been chosen: two women and one man.
Opening statements are set to begin Wednesday morning, and the trial is expected to last about two weeks.
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