31-year-old claims she fired a warning shot in self-defense
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -
Despite days of rallies calling for her release, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years for firing a shot during an argument with her estranged husband.
Judge: No new trial for Alexander
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Alexander, 31, claims she fired a shot from a handgun into the wall to protect herself during a confrontation with her husband, who she claimed had abused her. Because he was with two children when she fired a shot in his direction, she was charged with three counts of aggravated assault.
Alexander's attorneys used the "stand your ground" law as part of their claim of self-defense during the trial, but prosecutors said it didn't apply because she left the room, got a gun and returned to confront him.
Judge James Daniel sentenced Alexander to 20 years on Friday morning, following Florida's sentencing guidelines for someone convicted of firing a handgun during the commission of a felony.
Alexander's attorney, Kevin Cobbin, says he will appeal.
Last week, State Attorney Angela Corey said she personally met with Alexander and reviewed the evidence in the case. She said she offered Alexander a three-year sentence before the case went to trial despite the case qualifying for a 20-year minimum mandatory sentence.
"The Internet is filled with contentions that she filed a warning shot as she was being choked. Nothing could be further from the truth," Corey said. "Apparently, this jury had an abiding conviction of guilt."
Cobbin continues to believe she fired that shot in self-defense and plans to appeal the conviction.
"I know she fired a gun in a home, but I also know that the individual that was in front of her, confronting her, had already beaten her several times, had beaten her that day and was about to try to beat her again," Alexander's attorney, Kevin Cobbin, said. "That's the time when you defend yourself."
Alexander's case has attracted support of several community organizations and media attention as she was portrayed as a victim of domestic violence.
There have been several rallies supporting Alexander outside the courthouse, including Thursday night and Friday morning before the sentencing hearing.
"It is important for the community to come together and show their support for Marissa Alexander," said Greg Newburn, Florida director for Families Against Mandatory Minimums. "These events let our leaders know that we expect reform to prevent these kinds of injustices from occurring again."
Angie Nixon, Florida New Majority's North Florida Regional Coordinator stated, "A woman's right to protect herself, should not be on trial. Florida New Majority is calling for the release of Marissa Alexander."
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