[5.11.12 Jacksonville, Florida]--Marissa Alexander lost her long, hard fight to stay out of prison, for on Friday, a judge sentenced her to 20 years in prison for firing her gun to stop her abusive husband on Aug 1, 2010. No one was hurt in the incident.
In a Jacksonville, Florida courtroom Judge James Daniels handed down the maximum sentence as a group of young supporters loudly sang, "We who believe in justice, will not rest!"
Judge Daniels reportedly threw them out of his courtroom and the building. The NAACP and other advocacy groups have pleaded for a new trial, but to no avail.
The 31-year-old mother of three was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with no intent to harm. Her two stepsons were in the room when she fired the warning shot at the ceiling of her home to warn off her abusive husband Rico Gray--who allegedly admitted to being an abuser. In fact, he publicly bragged that he "put his hands on all of his five baby mamas except one."
Prosecutor Angela Corey was lambasted on the courthouse steps after the sentencing by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, who reportedly called the case "institutional racism." Brown also vowed to continue fighting for Marissa as well as looking into a pattern of prejudicial outcomes in other cases.
The stiff sentence is due to Florida's 10-20-life statutes, but critics say prosecutor Angela Corey had the power to hand down justice in this case and she chose not to. Incidentally, she is the also the special prosecutor in that other notorious Stand Your Ground case, where George Zimmerman was able to avoid being arrested for almost two months by using that law.
He is now out on bail after being charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford on Feb. 26. Many say the arrest came only after widespread outrage, protests, "hoodie" marches and Trayvon's parents tireless fight to gain national attention for their son's death.
Those fighting for Marissa, along with her attorney, say the State's Stand Your Ground law should have been used in this case, for under that statute she was not obligated to retreat as the prosecutor claimed she should have.
Moreover, no one was killed or even hurt during the incident. Marissa had a permit for the gun and also reportedly had a restraining order against husband Gray. Gray told Marissa's lawyer that if his children weren't there that day, he probably would have wrestled the gun from his wife and beat her some more.
Click on the links below to read my earlier reports.