'Abused' Florida wife sentenced to 20 YEARS for firing warning shot at husband after Stand Your Ground defense fails
By Beth Stebner
A Florida woman has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars for firing a gun into the ceiling of her home in front of her husband and their two young children.
Though Marissa Alexander, 31, was claiming she shot in self-defense, citing the state’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, the jury and prosecutors said in this case, the law could not be invoked.
During the 2010 altercation between now 36-year-old Rico Gray, Alexander had left the room during the argument to retrieve the gun.
Disbelief: Marissa Alexander breaks down in court as she is sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun during a fight with her husband
Stand your ground: Alexander turned down a three-year plea bargain, hoping she could prove her innocence in front of a jury
The case puts in sharp relief the February shooting of Sanford, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by Neighbourhood Watch Captain George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman insisted that he shot the unarmed teen in self-defence. Authorities waited weeks before arresting him.
The 31-year-old mother had rejected a plea bargain from the State Attorney’s Office for three years, but Alexander rejected it, in hopes of convincing the jury that her story corroborated with the evidence.
Last week, she filed a motion to have her trial dismissed on the controversial Stand Your Ground law, the Huffington Post said.
However, Judge Daniel James rejected the motion as Alexander could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was in danger of sustaining bodily harm.
Justice for Alexander: A group of people rallied outside the courthouse protesting the mother's sentence
Appeal: The mother-of-three holds a PhD; her lawyer is looking to appeal the sentence, as Alexander had no previous criminal record
Florida’s harsh 10-20-Life
statutes give harsh punishments for all gun crimes. For pulling a gun
out during a crime, the sentence is ten years.
For firing the gun, a mandatory 20-year sentence is issued.
A person convicted in shooting dead a victim with a gun faces 25 years to life in prison.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections’ website, the strict statutes have driven down gun violence by as much as 30 per cent.
Alexander’s attorney, Kevin Cobbin, told WOKV that he and his client plan to appeal the conviction, emphasising the fact that she is a PhD-holding mother of three who had not been in trouble before.
Her sentence was lessened the 458 days she has been in jail.
U.S. Rep Corrine Brown told news4jax.com that the sentencing is unjust, noting that a white man who was convicted of murder Friday was sentenced to 15 years.
No one was injured in the altercation involving Alexander’s children and husband.
‘If there ever was a stand-your-ground case, it was this one,’ she told the station.
‘This is the beginning, not the end. Clearly, there is institutional racism.’