Florida Releases Woman Jailed for 20 Years for Firing 'Warning Shot'

Thursday, 28 Nov 2013 01:23 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

A Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a "warning shot" during an argument with her abusive husband has been released on bond while she awaits retrial under a controversial part of the state's self-defense law.

The case of Marissa Alexander, who was convicted of aggravated-assault with a deadly weapon, touched off a furor when her supporters compared it to the self-defense case of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted earlier this year of murdering an unarmed black teenager.

Although no one was injured in Alexander's case, the court gave her a 20-year prison sentence under the state's mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines because she had fired a gun during the assault.

A state appeals court ruled in September that Alexander, who is black, deserved a new trial because the judge failed to properly instruct the Jacksonville, Florida jury about her self-defense argument. She was convicted in May 2012.

"This news is vindication for Marissa and all the women who have become criminalized for exercising their basic right to defend themselves and their children," Angie Nixon of Florida New Majority, a social justice organization, said of Alexander's release.

The case drew criticism from civil rights groups concerned about self-defense laws and mandatory minimum sentencing rules, but it received little attention outside north Florida until the Zimmerman case.

Zimmerman was arrested for killing Trayvon Martin in 2012 and was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in July 2013.

Under the so-called "Stand Your Ground" clause which was added to Florida's self-defense law in 2005, people who use deadly force to defend themselves from serious injury - rather than retreating to avoid confrontation - can be immune from prosecution.

Zimmerman never sought immunity under "Stand Your Ground," instead relying on a standard self-defense law.

Alexander's "Stand Your Ground" claim was rejected because she left the house during the confrontation to retrieve a gun from her car, returning to fire a shot near her husband Rico Gray's head.

A slightly built woman who stands 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 meter), Alexander said her 245-pound (111 kg) husband was about to attack her when she fired into a kitchen wall during the August 2010 incident. He had previously been convicted of domestic violence for attacking her.

Prosecutors said the shot endangered Gray. At the time, Alexander had an active restraining order against her husband and she carried a concealed weapons permit.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Jury Says Jesse Ventura Defamed By Chris Kyle Book, Awards $1.8 Million

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 15:01 PM

A jury on Tuesday ruled that former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura had been defamed in a book by an ex-Navy SEAL who c . . .

DC Gets 90-Day Stay to Order Striking Handgun Ban

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 14:15 PM

A federal judge on Tuesday sided with the District of Columbia and granted a 90-day stay on a ruling that challenged the . . .

David Duchovny Defends Russian Beer Commercial

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 14:03 PM

Hollywood star David Duchovny has defended his Russian beer commercial after it ignited a firestorm on Twitter amid the  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved