Florida’s State Attorney is pursuing 60 years behind bars for Marissa Alexander, a Black woman who fired a “warning shot” in the direction of her estranged husband and his two kids.
In August 2010, Alexander’s husband allegedly read messages from her ex on her cell phone and got so enraged that he strangled her neck and threatened to kill her. She grabbed a gun from the garage, where she was stuck inside, and fired a “warning shot” into the air, near where his kids were standing. She did not injure or kill anyone yet she was unsuccessfully able to argue the Stand Your Ground law. An appeals court threw out the case and in November, Marissa was released on bond from her 20-year conviction. Now, State Attorney Angela Corey is seeking 60 years — three times the original sentence — as punishment.
Marissa Alexander argued that she was acting in self-defense but nevertheless, she was convicted in 2012 of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to serve 20 years (three charges issued and served concurrently). Since Alexander was granted a retrial, Corey is now pursuing the charges to be served consecutively, which would essentially put Alexander behind bars for the rest of her life.
The Florida Times-Union has a fairly comprehensive piece on the legal aspects of the sentencing and how the retrial could play out. The tl;dr is that Alexander’s supporters generally feel that Corey is being vindictive and disingenuous when she claims that Alexander should be put behind bars on account of the children who were in the house when the gun went off. Another prevailing belief, which I share, is that this is a miscarriage of justice for gun-wielding Black folks in comparison to how gun-wielding white George Zimmerman was treated by the criminal justice system.
Marissa Alexander’s new trial is scheduled for July 28.
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