The Black Community Remains Quiet As Woman Serves 20 Year Sentence
September 17, 2012.
A little over four months ago, a Florida judge sentenced 31-year-old Marissa Alexander to 20 years in prison for three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Alexander fired a gun into the air in an attempt to scare her violent husband, who’d gone into a rage after reading text message exchanges between Alexander and her ex-husband. “That’s when he strangled me. He put his hands around my neck,” Alexander said.
In a desperate attempt to save her life, she broke from his grip and ran into the garage to flee the home in her car. Allowing her panic to get the best of her, she forgot to grab her keys and couldn’t open the garage door. Alexander found one solution that could save her from her crazed husband. “I knew I had to protect myself,” she said. “I could not fight him. He was 100 pounds more than me. I grabbed my weapon at that point.”
When her husband, Rico Gray, saw the pistol at her side, Alexander claims he threatened to kill her — that’s when she decided to make the hasty decision to fire the weapon. Instead of aiming the gun towards Gray, Alexander aimed the weapon to the ceiling. ”I believe when he threatened to kill me, that’s what he was absolutely going to do. That’s what he intended to do. Had I not discharged my weapon at that point, I would not be here,” Alexander said. She said she fired into the air intending to scare him away, and Gray quickly left the house with his two children. No one was hurt in the incident, but Alexander sits in jail facing a 20-year sentence on three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Alexander attempted to use Florida’s “stand your ground” law — the same law that George Zimmerman is using to defend his decision to kill 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February this year; however, for some reason the law, did not apply to Alexander’s case. Many are questioning whether or not race is playing a role in the judge’s decision to sentence her 20 years.