As expected, the judge in the controversial Marissa Alexander case sentenced the Florida mom to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot into the ceiling to ward off her abusive husband, who was in the midst of assaulting her once again. Through Florida gun crime laws, the 20-year sentence was the mandatory minimum for the crime Alexander was found guilty of back in March, when it took the jury just 12 minutes to convict her of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing the gun in the presence of her husband and two children.
The case of Alexander, 31, who had just given birth nine days before the 2010 altercation, prompted a national outcry of unequal treatment after Circuit Judge James Daniel and the jury rejected her use of the Stand Your Ground law in her defense, right after George Zimmerman went 47 days without even being arrested using the same defense—after killing an unarmed 17-year-old boy.
Alexander’s sentence is especially painful because the mother of three was offered a plea deal of three years, but she rejected it, deciding to take her chances with a jury.
After the verdict was read, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown stood on the courtroom steps and vowed that she would get the state’s best defense attorney to work on Alexander’s conviction, which Brown called a case of “institutional racism.”