The same Stand Your Ground law that George Zimmerman is relying on in his defense was not effective at all in keeping Marissa Alexander out of a Florida jail, nor was it effective in granting her a new trial today.
A judge ruled that the 31-year-old mother of three would not get another shot at justice.
After being the repeated victim of domestic violence, Alexander grabbed a gun—just nine days after giving birth—and fired a warning shot into the ceiling when her husband threatened to kill her in August 2010. But the husband of three months, Rico Gray, called police and reported that she had fired at him and his two sons. She was arrested and later convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which carries a mandatory sentence of 20 years.
The case is drawing increased scrutiny, including a detailed report on HuffingtonPost.com, because of the many ways that it differs from that of Zimmerman, who wasn’t arrested until a national firestorm of criticism pushed Florida to appoint special prosecutor, who promptly arrested him and charged him with second-degree murder. Zimmerman is currently awaiting trial.
In Alexander’s case, a jury was not swayed by her use of Stand Your Ground—even though her husband, Gray, had been arrested a year before the shooting for an attack that put Alexander in the hospital. Prosecutors had offered her a plea of three years but Alexander rejected it.
The abusive husband had found evidence on Alexander’s cellphone that she was communicating with her ex-husband—with whom she shares a child—and said he would kill her if he found out she was cheating. Despite the threats, her earlier stay in the hospital and the fact that the bullet was harmlessly shot into the ceiling, a jury took just 12 minute to convict her.
Alexander and her attorneys were back in a Florida courtroom today asking a judge for a new trial, claiming her husband was the aggressor and she was the victim. But the judge wasn’t swayed.
“This is my life I’m fighting for,” Alexander had said in an interview with CNN. “If you do everything to get on the right side of the law, and it is a law that does not apply to you, where do you go from there?”