Conflict & Tragedy
Mother of 3 denied new trial, faces up to 20 years for firing gun without hurting anyone
[Jacksonville, Florida]--Marissa Alexander was denied a new trial in a Jacksonville, Fla., courtroom on Thursday. The 31-year-old mother of three was convicted of three counts of aggravated battery without intent to harm while "standing her ground" against her allegedly abusive husband during an altercation on August 1, 2010. Husband Rico Gray reportedly said that if his children weren't there that day, he probably would have wrestled the gun from his wife and beat her some more.
In a CNN report, Gray reportedly bragged about beating all the mothers of his children, saying "I got five baby mamas and I put my hands on every last one of them except one." Marissa said that she had to take out a restraining order against her husband about a year ago and the court was aware of this.
Presiding Judge James Daniels reportedly ruled that the "Stand Your Ground" law, which Marissa's lawyer, the NAACP and other advocates pleaded on her behalf, does not apply, for she could have escaped through the front or back doors. This is quite puzzling for under Stand Your Ground, signed into law 2005 under then-Gov. Jeb Bush, one does not have to retreat if they feel threatened, they can stand and defend themsleves. Marissa said just that in recent CNN interview. Husband Gray, who was also scheduled to be interviewed, turned it down because he asked to be paid and CNN refused.
Marissa, who was reportedly found guilty by a jury in just 11 minutes, has fought her convictions, refusing to plead guilty for a lesser sentence. She faces up to 20 years in prison for firing her gun at the ceiling of her home while her husband and two stepsons were in the room.
While no one was hurt and Marissa claimed she was simply defending herself against her husband who had just choked her, the State of Florida proceeded with the case. Incidently Angela Corey, the same prosecutor in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin murder case, was in charge of Marissa's.
28-year-old Zimmerman, now charged with second-degree murder in the shoooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, wasn't arrested or charged until 45 days after the tragedy which unfolded in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Stand Your Ground was used as the reason for a lack of arrest because Zimmerman had claimed self-defense.
The State Prosecutor Norm Wolfinger, who has since recused himself, allegedly barred the Sanford police from making an arrest that night of Feb. 26 when the unarmed teen was killed.
Marissa did fire her gun, which was liscensed, but no one was killed or hurt, yet she was arrested immediately. Many are drawing parallels to Zimmerman's case, saying bias in the justice system has kept Marissa behind bars, convicted of something the court could have pleaded out to a much lesser charge with no jail time.
When she was arrested two years ago, Marissa reportedly had given birth to a premature baby just nine days prior. However this and the restraining order seemed to have no bearing on her case.
The mother of three is still awaiting sentencing.
Does this case show a blatant double standard on Stand Your Ground in Florida?
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