Society

Marissa Alexander Will Serve 60 Years If Convicted of Assault For Firing Warning Shot at Abusive Husband

| by Allison Geller

Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband, will serve 60 years in jail if she is convicted again at her retrial. State attorney Angela Corey told Alexander that her sentence would be tripled if she’s found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault.

Alexander, 33, claimed immunity under Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law after she fired a “warning shot” with her legally owned gun in the direction of her husband, Rico Gray, and his kids. The bullet went through the wall and no one was hurt.

Alexander said Gray had accused her of cheating and become violent. She first tried to escape through the garage, but as the door was locked she took her gun out of her car and returned to the house, where she claimed she had to defend herself from Gray, who threatened to kill her.

Alexander was denied immunity under the law and served 19 months in jail before an appeals court ruled that the judge had acted incorrectly in her first trial, telling the jury that Alexander had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her husband beat her.

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Lead prosecutor Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei told the Florida Times-Union that the court would be required by law to order Alexander to serve all three sentences consecutively if charged three times.  

“Absent a plea agreement, if convicted as charged, the law of the State of Florida fixes the sentence,” Mantei said. “At this time, Ms. Alexander has rejected all efforts by the State to resolve the case short of trial.”

Advocacy group Free Marissa Now said the order “should send a chill down the back of every person in this country who believes that women who are attacked have the right to defend themselves.”

“When Marissa Alexander fired her warning shot to save her own life, she caused no injuries. Now she’s facing the very real possibility of spending the rest of her life in prison for that act of self-defense,” Sumayya Fire, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a statement.

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Sources: Guardian, Florida Times-Union