Angela Corey Seeks ‘Balance’ In Facts About Marissa Alexander Case
Veteran prosecutor “confused” by the “misinformation” circulating on the Internet
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey is incensed by voluminous media reports about the case of Marissa Alexander, the mother who has drawn national attention for being denied a “Stand Your Ground” defense.
Corey personally returned a call to Loop 21 on Monday evening to clear up “misinformation,” which she claimed has been reported by several news outlets, including this one. The top prosecutor is disputing misleading details of the case she alleges Alexander’s family and attorney intentionally spread.
“I’m very disappointed that the defense attorney had anything to do with it,” Corey said. “The family should be ashamed of themselves. They do know that the shot did not go into the ceiling. And how dare they mislead people into thinking that.”
“Rarely are shooting cases like this cut and dry,” Corey said. “We punish people for their actions, not for the fact that (Alexander) happened to miss 3 human beings, and thank God she didn’t kill them.”
Corey acknowledged a decision by her office not to address media until after Alexander’s retrial motion was heard, and that informative trial transcripts are not readily available to the public. Loop 21 reached out to Corey’s office last week, before last Thursday’s hearing.
Loop 21 had correctly reported that Alexander’s gunshot at her estranged husband, Rico Gray, was fired into a wall near him and then travelled into the ceiling. In numerous interviews with Loop 21, Alexander’s lawyer and family representatives either recounted this point or omitted specifics of shot trajectory.
Any omission was unintentional, said Alexander attorney Kevin Cobbin, who told Loop 21 on Monday night that Corey’s choice to speak out, mere days before his client was to be sentenced to a mandatory 20 years in prison, was curious.
“She’s made that (misinformation) claim to me several times,” Cobbin said by phone. “I know the legal system that I work in very well. And I think Angela Corey believes that people don’t know it, so she can say (what she wants.)”
“This is an elected official,” Cobbin added. “There is no fact that anybody has, that anybody is misleading…I really don’t understand what she’s talking about.”
Cobbin acknowledged that he did not volunteer information in any press interviews that he believed might have hurt Alexander’s chances at a new trial, which a judge denied her late last week.
In a first interview with Loop 21, Cobbin did not mention Alexander’s conviction of battery against Gray, whom Corey said she gave a black eye, months after the 2010 shooting incident.
[ALSO READ: Angela Corey Berates Media For Alexander Coverage]
That encounter violated a court-ordered injunction of no contact with Gray, which invalidated Alexander’s claim of self-defense, Corey said. Assistant state prosecutor Nicholas Lake argued that point successfully before a jury. Few media stories mention the plea deal, which Corey offered to Alexander and would have cut her prison sentence down from 20 years to three years.
“What we’re saying is that she did it out of anger, not fear,” Corey said. “Her words proved that and her actions proved that.”
Corey went on to say, "Once someone doesn't get the result they want, they shouldn't get to whine about it and complain."
A source with second-hand knowledge of the negotiations said Corey’s office is not being completely forthcoming about the conditions of the offers, which Corey characterized to Loop 21 as generous. Cobbin declined to speak about the negotiations.
Marissa’s ex-husband Lincoln Alexander put Loop 21 in contact with Marissa on Monday night. From a jail phone, Marissa issued the following reaction to Corey’s words:
“Angela Corey is unfortunately getting bits and pieces from somebody who prefers to pervert justice, which is Rico Gray,” Marissa said. “I find it very difficult for her to believe anything that he has to say. That’s pretty much where she’s going wrong, to begin with.”
Corey maintains that she had always advocated for Gray’s two sons, who were present during the 2010 shooting incident. Both initially testified that they feared for their safety, but the eldest son later changed his account at trial.
In light of that, Judge James Daniels has considered dismissing Marissa’s felony assault conviction. She will, however, be sentenced to the mandatory for the other two assault charges on Friday.
Corey does not pretend to view Gray as a saint (he has a well-documented history of domestic violence), but said justice should still be afforded to him and his children.
“We prosecute a lot of murder cases where our victims are just absolute terrors,” Corey said. “As far as their prior criminal record, they’ve got multiple offenses. They are drug dealers, they are gang members.”
“We can’t just say that because somebody has a past, that they’re not worth (protection) like other people…that somebody can just pick up a gun and shoot them,” Corey continued. “You still have to do it within the bounds of the law, and (Marissa) did not.”
Groups are still planning to protest Alexander’s May 11 sentencing. They believe Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is due for major reform.
Contact Loop 21 staff writer Aaron Morrison at 347-855-3140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.