Marissa Alexander Accepts Plea Deal, Forced to Return to Prison

Marissa Alexander, the domestic violence victim facing trial in Florida for firing a warning shot, accepted a plea deal on Monday. The deal required Alexander to plead guilty to aggravated assault in exchange for three years in prison. The 1,030 days she already spent in prison will be counted. Alexander, who was out on bail, will return to Duval County Jail after Monday’s hearing and has 65 days left to serve. She will be released on Jan. 27, and placed under house arrest for two years.

Despite testifying that she was in fear for life when she fired a shot at the ceiling after her husband abused her, Alexander was denied Florida’s Stand Your Ground immunity twice. In his initial deposition, her husband Rico Gray told the same story, adding that he “was in a rage” and mentioning his history of violent abuse. “I got five baby mamas, and I [hit] every last one of them except for one,” he wrote. He also admitted to “four or five” previous instances in which he abused Alexander, including when he “pushed her back and she fell in the bathtub and she hit her head.”

State prosecutor Angela Corey maintained, however, that Alexander did not fear for her life when she fired the gun. The shot injured no one. Alexander was set to face trial on Dec. 8, and faced 60 years in prison after Corey decided she would have to serve the state’s 20-year mandatory minimum sentence consecutively. Alexander was charged with three counts of aggravated assault for firing the shot in the presence of her husband and his two children.

In a press release, Free Marissa Now organizer Alisa Bierria stated:

The plea deal is a relief in some ways, but this is far from a victory. The deal will help Marissa and her family avoid yet another very expensive and emotionally exhausting trial that could have led to the devastating ruling of spending the rest of her life in prison.  Marissa’s children, family, and community need her to be free as soon as possible.  However, the absurdity in Marissa’s case was always the fact that the courts punished and criminalized her for surviving domestic violence, for saving her own life.  The mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years, and then 60 years, just made the state’s prosecution increasingly shocking.  But we have always believed that forcing Marissa to serve even one day in prison represents a profound and systemic attack on black women’s right to exist and all women’s right to self-defense.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.