Marissa Alexander, Florida Mom, Faces Mandatory 20 Years In Prison After Failed Stand-Your-Ground Defense

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It took nearly a year’s worth of violent physical abuse before Marissa Alexander decided to stand her ground against her husband.

On Aug. 1, 2010, her husband cornered her in their Jacksonville, Fla., home. Alexander said she ran to the garage to escape, but the garage door was jammed, so Alexander grabbed a pistol. Her husband, Rico Gray, 36, saw the gun and threatened to kill her, Alexander would later say in court documents.

Fearing for her life, she raised the pistol above her head and squeezed the trigger, the crackle of gunfire pelting the kitchen ceiling.

While the shooting may have gotten Alexander out of one jam, it put her in another: She has been in a Florida jail since 2010 awaiting a mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The 31-year-old mother of three has said that she believes she had a legal right to protect herself that day under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which gives citizens expanded rights to use force when threatened with bodily harm. But moments after the shooting, Gray ran outside and called police alleging that Alexander shot at him and his two sons. Alexander was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Gray later changed his story about the shooting. During a court hearing to determine whether or not Alexander could be protected under the Stand Your Ground Law, Gray said he’d lied during his earlier deposition and that he “begged and pleaded for my life when she had the gun.”

A judge rejected Alexander’s Stand Your Ground defense, saying that she could have escaped her attacker “through the front or back door,” court records say. The State Attorney’s Office offered her a plea deal that would have sent her to prison for a few years, but she rejected it, hoping to convince a jury that she was defending herself.

It took a jury 12 minutes to find her guilty.

Under the state’s mandatory sentencing guidelines, Alexander faces a 20-year prison sentence with no chance of early release. She could be sentenced as early as next week, but at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Alexander will be in court for a pre-sentencing hearing, where her attorneys will ask for a new trial.

“This is my life I’m fighting for,” Alexander said in an interview with CNN. “If you do everything to get on the right side of the law, and it is a law that does not apply to you, where do you go from there?”

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23 Comment

  1. If the facts presented in this article are correct and complete (which is a big IF), then she ought not be charged with anything. She was in her home, tried to get away (but wasn’t able to), the man kept coming at her and she fired a mere warning shot? The guy is lucky to be alive. This is a clear stand-your-ground case. (Virtually every state gives a person great latitude when the incident occurs indide their own home.)

  2. Shame on the man, he has no regard for his little children. No, the law is not for black people…

  3. If they can give this young mother 20 years for protecting herself from a person that was about to harm her, just shooting in the air, I guess if she had shot him all would be ok, huh, like the guy that killed the young man, this guy has gotten his doctor to say he was beaten up, when on the same night he was brought in the jail, no marks on him, you know you see all marks on a person on HD tv, is the law one sided , judge for your self,

  4. Classic bullshit.She probably would have been better off if she had killed him.A dead man cannot tell his story.Ask George about that……

  5. Where is the justice in the legal system? This is really a sad situation. These children will grow up without a mother and God knows what they will be told by those who have to raise them.

  6. That's fucked up,

  7. I don't agree w her sentence at all, its bs, a man puts his hands on you, you have every right to defend herself

  8. The Stand your Ground law is not meant for black people. Maybe if she killed him, things would have been different. Another case of when the system fails a black person. I guess we can’t apply laws to our lives to keep us protected.


  10. Black ppl need not to live in the state of Florida cause it seem the laws don't apply to us if we defending ourselves or not you going down that man knew what he was doing he knew the law flip on her knowing he was whipping her ass damn coward I hope he have sleepless night

  11. Yea this is some bullshit and any judge that could sentence her to 20 years for trying to protect herself is FULL OF SHIT…the laws and justice system is so screwed up and off balance…I just recently learned that the state of Texas is the only state that allow it's jurors to sentence a convicted murdered to " probation" without having to serve a day of jail time…

  12. Murderer#

  13. Murderer

  14. 20!!! The judge and the jury is the murderers
    I wonder how the husband feel now!!!! Florida can kiss my ASS!!!!

  15. You no back in the day it was Slavery in the South, that's why shtt messed up like that: They still living bk in time

  16. They made them laws so they can kill blacks and get away with it

  17. I think Black people should revive the Black panthers and take the war to the courts and judges.

  18. Take out the prosecutors and the judges who do these unjust rulings. We need to become Judges.

  19. Like Judge Dredd.

  20. Kneel before Zod kneel Before sort.

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