Marissa Alexander, convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing a gun over the head of her husband in order to stop physical abuse, has been granted a new trial.
The Florida mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison in May 2012. Alexander testified that her then husband Rico Gray physically assaulted her on August 1, 2010, just one week after she gave birth to their baby daughter. She testified that following physical abuse, she escaped to the garage with intentions to leave the house, but the garage door was not working. She retrieved a gun, which she had a permit for, from a vehicle in the garage and reentered the house, where Gray confronted her in the kitchen. Alexander said Gray charged her “in a rage,” and she fired her gun into the air as a warning shot.
Alexander was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon because Gray’s two sons, aged 10 and 12 at the time, were with him in the kitchen when the confrontation took place.
Alexander’s former husband whom she has twin boys with, Lincoln Alexander, spoke to theGrio over the summer saying that “Marissa’s spirits are high, and that she is ‘fully aware’ of the Zimmerman verdict, though he declined to elaborate on his or her feelings about it, given that they face the same prosecutor in Marissa’s case.”
The prosecutor, Angela Corey, argued Alexander acted on anger, rather than fear.
Gray had been arrested twice previously for domestic violence, including one incident against Alexander while she was pregnant.
Court documents state that the court remands for a new trial “because the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous.”
UPDATE: The office of State Attorney Angela Corey issued the following statement to theGrio:
The defendant’s conviction was reversed on a legal technicality. The First District Court of Appeal found that Florida’s Supreme Court’s jury instructions were wrong. We are gratified that the Court affirmed the defendant’s Stand Your Ground ruling. This means the defendant will not have another Stand Your Ground hearing. The case will be back in Circuit Court in the Fourth Judicial Circuit at the appropriate time.
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.