Who is Marissa Alexander? Marissa Alexander is a 31-year-old African American woman from Jacksonville, Florida, who was found guilty in May 2012 of aggravated assault and sentenced to a state-mandatory 20 years in prison. Marissa Alexander had argued that she fired a warning shot at her husband, Rico Gray, because she feared for her life and had suffered years of abuse.
Because her two sons (she’s also the mother of a three-year-old girl) were present at the time of the Aug. 1, 2010 altercation, Alexander was hit with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and while she’d argued that had every right to defend herself, citing Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law—a controversial statute given the Trayvon Martin case—it took a jury just 12 minutes to find her guilty.
Who is Marissa Alexander? She’s a woman whose name you’ll be hearing for quite a while, as her lawyers have begun an appeal’s process and hope to have the Florida mother out of jail well before she’s served much more of her 20-year prison sentence. Prosecutor Angela Corey, meanwhile, argues that Marissa shot at Rico Gray out of anger and endangered the lives of her kids. The case is particularly interesting in light of the Trayvon Martin verdict, as Marissa Alexander is defending herself by using the very same “Stand Your Ground” law that George Zimmerman supporters say gave him cause to shoot Martin during their infamous February 2012 confrontation in a Florida gated community.
Who is Marissa Alexander? The Florida mother of three will go down in history in one of three ways, depending on how the courts rule. A three-judge panel could reverse the conviction by either finding errors in the original trial or deciding that the judge was wrong in not granting her “Stand Your Ground” immunity, according to The Grio. The judges could also deny her appeal, in which case she’ll remain in prison until 2032.
“The law was made for people like Ms. Alexander,” Marissa Alexander’s lawyer, Kevin Cobbin, said after the 2012 conviction, according to Downtown Jacksonville News. “They did not make it for people running around on the streets shooting people. They made it for women in their homes trying to defended themselves against abusive mean men.”