Marissa Alexander, a mother from Florida was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier in the year for shooting at her abusive husband whom she feared would harm her, and supporters are coming together to throw a rally in her honor. The story which has touched citizens across the nation, has spawned the Justice For Marissa Alexander Rally, Fundraiser and 24-Hour Vigil to be held in Washington state, at the end of the month.
Alexander was handed down the stiff sentence due to Florida’s strict gun laws. Although she argued the state’s “stand your ground” law as defense for why she fired a warning shot at her husband, she still received automatic jail time under the state’s “10-20-life” law which was implemented in 1999. Under the law, if a person shows a gun in the commission of specific felonies they will be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Firing the gun is an automatic 20 years, and firing the gun and wounding another person equals 25 years to life. Alexander, who had no previous criminal record, shot the firearm during a 2010 altercation with her husband, Rico Gray. The bullet hit no one, and no one was hurt, but Alexander—a mother of three— was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
In his sworn deposition, Gray told authorities that the fight erupted when he found text message from Allexander’s ex-husband in her phone. Alexander’s father claims that his daughter and Gray were estranged, and that she was staying with her mother after having a baby one week earlier. Gray, 36, reportedly told his wife “If I can’t have you, nobody going to have you,” and blocked her from getting past him. Once she was able to get around Gray, she went to her car and got her gun out of the glove compartment. She then came back in the house holding the weapon and telling him to leave, when he refused she fired “in the air one time,” according to Gray. Both he and his children ran for cover. However, once he phoned 911, Gray told the operator that Alexander aimed the gun at him and the children.
Last August a judge rejected her “stand your ground” motion, concluding that there was “insufficient evidence that the Defendant reasonably believed deadly force was needed to prevent death or great bodily harm to herself.”
State prosecutor Angela Corey, who brought second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin, agreed that Alexander should be charged. According to Corey, Alexander intentionally aimed the gun at Gray and the children nearby, and could have struck them.
Alexander refused a plea deal, and was found guilty. She has been in custody for two years, and several events have been held to shed light on her case. The rally takes place Monday, Aug. 27, at Percival Landing Park in Olympia, Wa. For more information on her case visit http://www.justice4marissa.com or her Facebook page.
Click below to see a photo of the flier for the fundraiser.
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