FL Woman Sentenced to 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot at Abusive Husband Gets New Trial

September 28 2013
by GSL Staff
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Golden Lady Justice, Bruges, Belgium

Back in May of 2012, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing what is described as a “warning shot” at her abusive husband.

According to a CBS News report from the time of her sentencing, the way things actually happened are a little questionable,

According to a sworn deposition taken in November 2010, Gray, 36, said that on August 1, 2010, he and Alexander began fighting after he found text messages to Alexander’s first husband on her phone. The two were already estranged – according to her father, Alexander had been living at her mother’s since the birth of the couple’s daughter nine days earlier, and Gray, a long-haul trucker, said he spent the night before in his tractor-trailer. Gray began calling her names, saying “If I can’t have you, nobody going to have you,” and blocking her from exiting the bathroom.

Alexander pushed past Gray and went into the garage where she got her gun from her car’s glove compartment.

Gray told prosecutors in the deposition that Alexander came back into the house holding the weapon and told him to leave. He refused, and what happened next is somewhat unclear. In his deposition, Gray said “she shot in the air one time,” prompting him and the children to run out the front door. But when Gray called 911 the day of the incident, he said “she aimed the gun at us and she shot.”

According to court documents and WTOC, Gray has a history of violence and domestic abuse.

The case was prosecuted by Angela Corey, the same Florida prosecutor appointed to investigate the George Zimmerman case.

Now it seems Alexander will get another chance to get her freedom back. According to WTOC,

Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals issued the ruling Thursday morning, saying 31-year-old Marissa Alexander was not given a proper trial because of the “fundamentally erroneous jury instructions pertaining to the issue self-defense.”

When the harsh 20 year sentence was announced it caused outrage among just about everyone, from gun rights activists to domestic abuse organizations to civil rights leaders.

The judge’s hands were tied in the case and due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws was forced to hand down the 20 year sentence.

While we aren’t a big fan of warning shots here, we do feel a 20 year sentence is a bit excessive, especially given the husband’s history of domestic violence.

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