George Zimmerman Verdict Reignites Outrage from Marissa Alexander Case
On Saturday, a jury of six reached a verdict in the George Zimmerman case. The jury found the defendant NOT GUILTY in the death of Trayvon Martin. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has since announced it will be investigating the case. The news coverage of the Zimmerman trial has reignited protests from the case of Marissa Alexander. Last year, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a “warning shot” towards her abusive husband.
In 2010, Alexander’s husband entered their home with his two children. Her husband, by his own admission, had abused Ms. Alexander. In fact, he had a history of abusing women. Marissa maintains that after trying to run away from her abuser she was cornered by a jammed door. After retrieving a gun she stored in the garage, she returned to the house and allegedly fired a “warning shot” at her husband. Alexander said her husband was so irate that he was threatening to kill her.
She fired one shot. Her husband then fled the house with his kids. Alexander was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing a shot at a wall near the vicinity of her husband and his children. Florida has stiff penalties for crimes using a gun.
The Huffington Post writes:
“According to Florida’s 10-20-Life statutes, anyone who pulls a gun during a crime receives a mandatory 10-year sentence. Firing a gun during the commission of a crime equals a mandatory 20-year sentence. Anyone convicted of shooting and killing another person during a crime is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.”
Alexander had no prior criminal record.
Critics state Marissa couldn’t enact the “Stand Your Ground (SYG)” law because she wasn’t in immediate danger of “bodily injury.” They point out that she could have very well run away when she got into the garage; yet instead decided to reenter the residence and initiate a gun shot. Some have tried to compare the use of the SYG law in Marissa’s case to the Zimmerman trial. The only problem though is that Zimmerman never used the law in his defense. Therefore, you can’t really compare the two cases.
I am not an expert in the perplexity and complexity of Florida law. I do think it is outrageous this woman has been sentenced to 20 years. The law itself needs to be revisited. Marissa thought she was protected by SYG when she fired the “warning shot.” She thought she was in fact “standing her ground.” Now she is in prison, while her three children await her release.
What do you think?
Was her sentence harsh?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate