Marissa Alexander Denied New Trial In ‘Stand Your Ground’ Case
Nearly two years later, battered Florida mother of three still faces 20 years in prison
A Florida judge has denied Marissa Alexander a new trial on assault charges, stemming from a 2010 domestic abuse incident, in which she was not allowed to claim the state's "Stand Your Ground" defense.
Judge James Daniel was not persuaded to grant a retrial motion in the battered mother of three's case on Thursday morning.
The 31-year-old faces a minimum 20-year prison sentence for firing a gun to defend herself against her estranged husband, who has a well-documented history of domestic violence.
Daniel has set Alexander's sentencing hearing for next Friday, according to a source at the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville.
Angie Nixon of Florida New Majority was in the courtroom as Daniel delivered his decision.
"I couldn't even see Marissa," Nixon told Loop 21 by phone. "There was so many people in front of me. The crowd kinda let out a gasp and people were shaking their heads. Some people started crying. People were visibly upset."
Nixon said Alexander's mother and sister both appeared to have tears in their eyes. A good number of people remained at the courthouse after Daniel's decision, she said.
Alexander's attorney, Kevin Cobbin, could not be reached immediately for reaction.
Even with documented prior incidences of strangulation, beatings, hospitalization, and an incident causing the premature birth of her youngest child, Cobbin says she was not allowed to claim self-defense, as another judge determined she had not exhausted all options to escape her husband’s abuse. That made her abusive husband the victim in the case.
According to a Florida Times Union report, Daniel is considering acquitting Alexander on one of three assault charges, because of trial testimony by one of the three victims. Her husband's son recounted previous statements to authorities, saying that he was not in fear of his life during the shooting.
Daniel said he will try to have a decision on the acquittal Thursday afternoon, the Times Union reports. Alexander still faces a minimum 20-year sentence on the other two assault charges.
Alexander's case has drawn national attention, as social activists have drawn comparisons between her case and that of George Zimmerman. The man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to death claimed the same "Stand Your Ground" defense that Alexander was not allowed to claim. Although he was free from arrest for more than a month after the incident, Zimmerman now faces a second-degree murder charge in the Martin case.
Stay with Loop 21 as the story develops.
Contact Loop 21 staff writer Aaron Morrison at 347-855-3140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.