Marissa Alexander, the Jacksonville woman who claimed to have fired a gun at her husband’s head in self-defense has been released from jail on bond. Alexander was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault in 2012, for firing a ‘warning shot’ at her husband. Alexander claimed that her husband, Rico Gray, began questioning her about text messages from her ex-husband and then attacked her. According to Alexander it was then that she went to the garage, obtained a the firearm and proceeded to shoot at her husband who was in the room with his two children. Gray was not injured as the bullet hit the ceiling.
Alexander was offered a plea deal which took into account the numerous times her husband has been charged with domestic violence. The charges came from Alexander and other women. In 2009 Alexander was hospitalized with a head injury caused by Gray. Alexander refused the plea deal choosing to have her case tried under Florida’s “Stand Your Grounds” laws. As the case did not apply to “Stand Your Ground” Alexander was found guilty and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. In Florida anyone who fires a gun during a crime gets an automatic 20 year sentence.
Alexander’s case has stirred up a lot of controversy. Many have compared it to the George Zimmerman case which also referred to “Stand Your Ground”. Since Alexander’s sentencing the NAACP and other groups have called for reform of the law, calling the sentencing unfair and prejudiced. State Attorney Angela Corey has received a lot of fire concerning this case, due to the fact that she also filed charges against Zimmerman. Corey continues to stand by the court’s decision on Alexander. She states that though no one was injured in the incidence Alexander’s actions were irresponsible and endangered not only Gray but also the two children present. Much of the controversy concerns the behaviors exhibited by both Alexander and Gray. Gray has been accused of perjury during his deposition. His accounts of the incident have changed over time. According to him this is because he was trying to protect his wife and lessen her charges. Reports claimed that Gray and Alexander discussed with each other what would be said prior to the November 2012 deposition. Questions about Marissa Alexander’s behavior arose when she was arrested while previously released on bond.
In December 2010 Marissa Alexander was released on bail. According to Gray his wife went to his house one night to drop off their baby, when he refused to allow her to sleep over she became angry and assaulted him. Alexander fled the scene and was arrested when confronted by police. Gray sustained a swollen and bloody eye. His wife’s bond was revoked and she was returned to jail. The main questions have risen about why Alexander would choose to visit and confront a man she was being accused of trying to kill; especially when she claimed her actions to be justifiable. Angela Corey also points out that when Alexander left her husband and went to the garage she had a chance then to flee the scene, instead she chose to return, thereby forfeiting her “Stand Your Ground” claim.
Marissa Alexander was released on bond this week after a judge ruled that the jury in her case was not given proper instructions. A new trial will begin March 2014. Her advocates are hopeful that she will be exonerated.
By Earnestine Jones
Action News Jacksonville