Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years behind bars for discharging a firearm in the presence of her estranged husband and his two sons has agreed to a plea deal. Her case had sparked widespread attention amid allegations that the state’s “Stand Your Ground” was being unfairly applied.
According to the Florida Times-Union, Alexander, who is African American, was ordered on Monday to serve three years in jail after pleading guilty to three felony charges. The 1,030 days she has already been behind bars will count as time served, meaning she will be released on Jan. 27.
In the lead up to the 2010 shooting, Alexander, 32, said she and her husband, Rico Gray, had gotten into an argument over a series of text messages. Alexander, who had given birth to a daughter nine days earlier, had locked herself into the bathroom, at which point Gray broke through the door and grabbed her neck. Alexander testified that she then ran into the garage, couldn’t get the door open and returned with a gun from her car. When Gray threatened, “Bitch, I’ll kill you”, Alexander said she fired the gun as a warning shot. No one was injured, but a jury convicted her in 12 minutes.
The case gained national notice after Alexander’s attorneys claimed self-defense and cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which also came under fierce criticism after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Under the law, in some circumstances, individuals can use force to defend themselves without first attempting to retreat. George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Martin, was acquitted in 2013 and his attorneys also cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute.
A circuit judge had previously denied Alexander request for a new hearing for immunity under the Stand Your Ground law and she was sentenced in 2012 under Florida’s 10-20 Life laws, which involves mandatory minimum sentences for gun-related crimes. The prosecutor in the case was Angela Corey, who also prosecuted Zimmerman. Alexander was granted a new trial last year after the First District Court of Appeal in Florida ruled that a judge didn’t properly instruct the jury on self defense.
After Alexander is released from prison early next year, she will have to spend two years under house arrest with a monitor.