NAACP weighs in on what they say is a "Stand Your Ground" case against Jacksonville woman

Woman faces 20 years in prison in Jacksonville case involving shooting

Posted: April 21, 2012 - 12:11am | Updated: April 21, 2012 - 2:53am

By Charles Broward

The NAACP’s Jacksonville chapter has thrown its support behind a woman who will be sentenced Monday in a shooting where she claimed self-defense against an abusive husband under the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

Marissa Danielle Alexander, 31, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault in August 2010 after she fired a single shot into the ceiling of her home during a dispute that somehow turned physical.

A judge denied her immunity in a Stand Your Ground hearing. And after a jury found her guilty, she faces a mandatory term of 20 years in prison.

“This is a clear case of domestic violence against Marissa,” branch President Isaiah Rumlin said Friday. “After looking into it and studying the case, this is a clear case of Stand Your Ground as it relates to what she had to do on the date that she did it.”

Alexander’s husband, Rico Gray, 36, was arrested in 2006 and 2009 on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery. Charges were dropped in one case and he was given probation in the other. Alexander had an injunction for protection against domestic violence against Gray following his 2009 arrest. Police have withheld Alexander’s address and it is unclear if the couple were living together.

But authorities, on the accounts of her husband and her two stepsons, have said it was Alexander who began the violence, “hitting on” Gray. In her arrest report, all three said she pointed the gun in their direction before the shot was fired.

Less than five months later, Alexander was arrested, again, on a domestic battery charge involving her husband.

Alexander has maintained that it was Gray who was the aggressor, becoming enraged when she told him she was leaving him.

“He assaulted me, shoving, straggling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while I begged him to leave,” Alexander wrote in a blog posted by her first husband on a website set up in support of her.

In the post, Alexander wrote the attack began while she was using the restroom at their house. She said she had made it to the garage but could not leave when she realized she did not have her keys and the garage door was not working.

She said she then grabbed her gun, for which she said she has a concealed weapons permit, with her fear heightened by her husband’s history of abusing women, including her. She said she went back inside and again met her husband in the kitchen where he then threatened her life.

“I was terrified from the first encounter and feared he came to do as he threatened,” she wrote. That’s when she said Gray “charged” at her.

“In fear and a desperate attempt, I lifted my weapon up, turned away and discharged a single shot in the wall up the ceiling.”

Alexander wrote that the law states that she had no duty to retreat.
But a jury disagreed, finding her guilty as charged March 16.
Attorneys for both sides declined to comment on the specifics of the case with the sentencing still to come.

State Attorney Angela Corey, however, said the jury heard the whole story and the public will, too, at the sentencing. Then, she said, she will be willing to shed more light on a matter she said she has been “very involved with from the beginning.”

Lincoln Alexander has also been involved from the beginning. He is Alexander’s first husband of eight years. The two divorced in 2010.
Alexander said he has maintained his friendship with his ex and has witnessed the signs of abuse. He described Alexander’s accounts of the multiple beatings she took from Gray, including one that left her with a black eye when she was eight months pregnant.

According to Alexander, his ex-wife was also hospitalized by police at the hands of her husband the night of her domestic battery arrest.
Alexander said he had never had any domestic issues in his marriage with her.

Marissa Alexander filed for divorce from her husband Tuesday, according to court records.

The NAACP has sent a letter to Circuit Judge James Daniel, asking him to hold off the sentencing and order a new trial.

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