Marissa Alexander, the 33-year-old battered mother entangled in an contentious gun-related trial in Florida, could be going to jail for life.
The office of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey has confirmed that it will seek to give Marissa Alexander a 60-year prison sentence at her retrial this July for firing one shot at her abusive estranged husband, Rico Gray.
Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei, the lead prosecutor in the case, reportedly told the Florida Times-Union “his office was simply following the sentencing laws of the state of Florida.”
“At this time, Ms. Alexander has rejected all efforts by the State to resolve the case short of trial,” Mantei told TU, rejecting questions of whether a 60-year sentence is vindictive.
“Absent a plea agreement, if convicted as charged, the law of the State of Florida fixes the sentence.”
The key issue centers on whether Florida law requires 10-20-life sentences to be consecutive or concurrent (Alexander received concurrent sentencing; Corey is seeking to triple the 20-year sentence for each conviction.) Several Florida appellate courts have ruled on this issue, with some of those rulings conflicting with each other.
Convicted in 2012, Alexander had begun serving a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence for three counts of aggravated assault, but a retrial was ordered in September 2013. The First District Court of Appeal in Florida had discovered that the trial’s judge had unfairly told jurors Alexander had to prove her claim of self-defense, so the original conviction was overturned and she was released on bail in November after 21 months behind bars.
During an escalated, and allegedly violent dispute in 2010, Alexander had fired what she says was “a warning shot” at her estranged husband inside her Jacksonville, Fla., home. The incident occurred days after she had birthed their premature child. No injuries were reported.
Prosecutors had initially offered Alexander three-year prison sentence before her original trial, a deal that she rejected to go to trial instead.
Corey claims Alexander shot out of anger, while Alexander says she did so in self-defense, citing the Stand Your Ground Laws. The controversial law allows the use of deadly force instead of retreating if the person is afraid for his or her life. Many are condemning Florida justice system and Corey for denying Alexander immunity under the state’s self-defense law, particularly in light of the fatal shootings of Black teens Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, the verdict of Michael Dunn‘s trial and Corey’s failed prosecution of George Zimmerman in 2013.
“A 60 year sentence for Marissa Alexander would not only be devastating for her, her children and family, and her community, it would be a decisive blow to the right to self defense for black women and all women,” Free Marissa Now leader Aleta Alston-Toure said in a statement.
“Incarcerating Marissa Alexander will send a strong message to all survivors that violence against them will be ignored and they instead will be subject to prosecution if they defend their lives.”
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"