Special to the AmNews
Jacksonville, Fla.—Tuesday, Jan. 27, domestic violence victim Marissa Alexander, 34, was released from a local jail after negotiating a plea deal in which her sentence will be the three years she has already been incarcerated.
She was initially sentenced in 2012 to a 20-year term for firing a warning shot to ward off her abusive husband, Rico Gray, but the conviction was overturned. Alexander was facing another trial, which could have put her behind bars for up to 60 years, before agreeing to a plea bargain in November.
She cried while leaving the courthouse Tuesday evening and thanking her supporters.
“My hope is for the people who were involved in this case to be able to move on with their lives,” she read from a written statement, declining to answer questions.
At her sentencing hearing, Alexander’s attorney explained that she agreed to the deal to avoid putting her loved ones through a “high-profile trial.”
She pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault for firing a warning shot in the direction of her husband during a 2010 argument while two of his children were also present.
Additionally, Alexander agreed to serve two years of house arrest, wearing an ankle monitor. She will be allowed to attend classes, work and chaperone her children to school and to doctor’s appointments.
Circuit Court Judge James Daniel denied a prosecutors’ request to add two years of probation to her sentence at the conclusion of the house arrest.
Outside the Duval County Courthouse, Alexander’s supporters from around the nation unfurled pieces of a red quilt memorializing victims of domestic violence
“Self-defense is not a crime. Marissa should not be doing time,” a group of approximately 50 people chanted upon her release, calling for her to be pardoned.
Ash-Lee Woodard-Henderson, a civil rights organizer, traveled from Chattanooga, Tenn., to support Alexander.
“Marissa’s story resonates with people because it was a victimless crime,” she said. “There is no justice in it.”
Alexander’s case helped inspire a new Florida law permitting warning shots in some circumstances.