Though much of the public may be under the impression that she is walking free, Marissa Alexander actually remains under house arrest as she awaits her new trial next month, four years after firing a warning shot in her garage to ward off her attacking ex-husband Rico Gray Sr.
Alexander is under strict house arrest at her home in Jacksonville, Fl. And even though Alexander’s supporters say she received permission every time she left the house, Florida state attorney Angela Corey has accused her of violating her house arrest by making unauthorized trips.
Her ankle monitor now doesn’t allow her to go any farther than her front door unless there is a medical emergency.
“When she was originally released under house detention, she contacted her officer, got permission to make certain errands to run her life and the officer gave her permission and it seemed like it was all good,” Alisa Bierria, one of the leaders for the “Free Marissa Now Mobilization” campaign, told Atlanta Blackstar. “But what ended up happening was that Angela Corey tried to get her bond revoked and basically advocated for the conditions to be much more strict.”
Since Alexander is unable to leave the house, the Free Marissa Now campaign has been asking for donations to help Alexander pay for her legal fees and other expenses.
In a hearing yesterday, the judge over Alexander’s case said he would allow testimony about Gray Sr.’s history of domestic violence if Alexander takes the stand to talk about his abuse of her.
The motion filed by Alexander’s defense team will allow testimony from three other women about their domestic abuse incidents with Gray Sr., which should be a substantial help to Alexander’s case.
In addition, at the hearing Alexander’s lawyer, Bruce Zimet, tried again to get his client a “stand your ground” immunity hearing, but it was denied.
Alexander’s case has become a national symbol of the wrongheadedness and racial subtext of “stand your ground,” since studies have shown the defense is less likely to be successful when used by a Black defendant. George Zimmerman was able to walk free after killing Trayvon by convincing a jury that he was afraid for his life after he got into an altercation with Martin in Sanford, Florida. But when Alexander tried to use the same defense in explaining why she fired a warning shot at her husband, she still was sent to prison.
In her trial that starts on Dec. 8, Alexander faces three counts of aggravated assault—one count for each person, her former husband and two children, in the house when Alexander fired the warning shot. Due to Florida’s “10-20-life” law, Alexander is facing up to 60 years in prison.
The trial was initially set for July 21, but because the state is reviewing the implications of the “warning-shot bill,” which was inspired by Alexander’s case, it was moved back five months.
Bierria and Aleta Alston-Toure, two of the leaders for the “Free Marissa Now Mobilization” campaign, have been raising money, spreading awareness and gathering support for Alexander. The campaign has raised $80,000.
The campaign has also organized a Jericho Prayer March to be held outside Duval County Courthouse on Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Additionally, they plan to display The Monument Quilt, a crowd sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse, at the courthouse on the date of the trial.
“It’s about visibility,” Toure said. “We’re going to bombard the courthouse in the city.”
Toure stressed the importance of showing support for Alexander in the same way that people showed up for Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.
“This is imperative that this movement for Marissa is the same justice we needed for Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and Michael Brown.” she said.
The campaign continues to accept donations on its website, freemarissanow.org.
The original incident occurred in August 2010. Alexander said feared for her life when she was attacked by her former husband, who questioned her fidelity and the paternity of their new child. She was chased, strangled and verbally threatened by Gray Sr. When she was able to break away, Alexander fired a warning shot that didn’t hit anyone in the house.
The judge denied her immunity under the infamous “stand your ground” law because she didn’t believe that Alexander was in fear for her life. Alexander was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
In 2012, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison. She spent three years behind bars until she won an appeal in September 2013, allowing her to be home for Thanksgiving last year.