by Charles Mombo
It has been over four months since a Florida judge sentenced Marissa Alexander to 20-years in prison. What surprises me the most about Alexander's case is the lack of outrage or backlash from the community.
If you haven't been following Alexander's story, please allow me to recap the events that led to her getting slammed with a senseless and unjust mandatory twenty year sentence.
Please also see the following articles:
- Marissa Alexander case: Should Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Apply?
- Florida’s Congresswoman Corrine Brown: 20 years for Marissa Alexander is not justice.
- Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown: The Facts in the Marissa Alexander Case
- Marissa Alexander Released from Jail Pending March 2014 Retrial
Alexander is serving “mandatory twenty year sentence,” for shooting a warning shot into the air after her abusive husband, Rico Gray, threatened to kill her. Nobody was hurt in that case. Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" as her defense, but a jury convicted her of aggravated assault after ONLY 12 minutes of deliberation.
On August 1, 2010, Alexander said her husband, Rico Gray, read text messages on her phone that she had written to her ex-husband. She said Gray became enraged and accused her of being unfaithful. "That's when he strangled me. He put his hands around my neck," Alexander said.
She managed to escape his grip but instead of running out the front door, she ran into the garage, she said, to get into her truck and drive away. Alexander said that in the confusion of the fight, she forgot to get her keys and the garage door wouldn't open, so she made a fateful decision. "I knew I had to protect myself," she said. "I could not fight him. He was 100 pounds more than me. I grabbed my weapon at that point."
She went back inside the house, and when Gray saw her pistol at her side, she said he threatened to kill her, so she raised the gun and fired one shot. "I believe when he threatened to kill me, that's what he was absolutely going to do. That's what he intended to do. Had I not discharged my weapon at that point, I would not be here."
Alexander, however, said she did not aim the gun at her husband. She said she fired into the air intending to scare him away, and Gray quickly left the house with his two children. No one was hurt in the incident, but Alexander sits in jail facing a 20-year sentence on three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Gray admitted to a history of physical abuse. In a previous incident, Alexander said he beat her so severely she ended up in the hospital and he ended up in jail. "He pushed me, choked me, pushed me so hard into the closet that I hit my head against the wall and passed out for a second," Alexander said.
In a deposition for the case against Alexander, Gray backed up much of his wife's story. "I told her if she ever cheated on me, I would kill her," he said during the proceeding led by a prosecutor for State Attorney Angela Corey's office and his wife's defense attorney.
"If my kids weren't there, I knew I probably would have tried to take the gun from her," Gray said. "If my kids wouldn't have been there, I probably would have put my hand on her." When Alexander's defense attorney asked him what he meant by "put my hand on her," Gray replied, "probably hit her. I got five baby mammas and I put my hands on every last one of them except for one."
Alexander's attorney filed a motion for dismissal under the stand your ground law, but at that proceeding her husband changed his story. Gray said he lied during his deposition after conspiring with his wife in an effort to protect her. At the hearing, he denied threatening to kill his wife, adding, "I begged and pleaded for my life when she had the gun." The motion was denied by the judge.
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