During the media frenzy surrounding the trial of George Zimmerman, a frenzy which may have led to his acquittal despite the majority of coverage being anti-Zimmerman, there was a lot of attention paid to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law which says that deadly force can be used when a person feels that their life or home is threatened.
Another case which garnered less media attention that also tried to invoke the law is that of Marissa Alexander, who rejected a plea deal and ended up being sentenced to 20 years for firing a legal firearm over the head of her husband, against whom she had a protection order.
Alexander had just given birth to a baby girl when her husband Rico Gray physically assaulted her on August 1, 2010. She testified that she fled into the garage, but couldn’t get the door open. She then retrieved a gun from her vehicle, a weapon which she had a concealed carry permit. She reentered the home and says that Gray charged at her and she fired a “warning shot” which hit a wall and ricocheted into the ceiling. No one was injured, but Gray’s two sons from a previous relationship were with him and potentially in harm’s way. Despite the fact that Gray has two previous arrests for domestic violence, including once against Alexander when she was carrying their daughter, Alexander was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years.
However, she has since been granted a new trial. According to a statement from the State Attorney Angela Corey – who both oversaw this case and the Zimmerman trial – the conviction was reversed because jury instructions were incorrect. Corey asserts that the ruling that “Stand Your Ground” doesn’t apply still stands because she admittedly was not trying to hit Gray or his sons when she fired.