Marissa Alexander’s Husband Rico Gray Speaks Out About Her Case
Father of jailed Florida woman’s daughter says he would not wish prison sentence on anyone
Rico Gray, the man who has been previously identified as Marissa Alexander’s abusive husband, is speaking out about his estranged wife’s case and about the relationship he hopes her family can have with their daughter (pictured left.)
Gray had previously turned down Loop 21’s request for an interview, but changed his mind after Florida State Attorney Angela Corey this week spoke to the media about the facts of Alexander’s “Stand Your Ground” case.
In a Wednesday morning phone interview, Gray did not deny having a contemptuous relationship with Alexander and her family, or that he has been violent with her and with women he’s been romantically involved with in the past.
But Gray says recent accounts of the shooting incident, for which his wife faces 20 years in prison, were one-sided.
“I don’t go around just jumping on women…that’s not me,” said Gray, in dispute of the habitual domestic abuse claims made by Alexander and her family.
“My family has been totally quiet,” Gray continued. “The only reason why they’ve been quiet is because of me. I told them not to (speak out.)”
Gray says he feared for his life and the lives of his two sons on the day that Alexander fired a gun near them. Although she tried to claim the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground defense, Alexander was convicted in March on 3 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She will be sentenced on Friday.
“When the incident happened, I thought I was going to die in front of my kids that day,” Gray said. “I really thought that August 1, 2010 was going to be last day of my life. She had that gun pointed at me, with my son clinched at my side.”
“I want it to be known that there wasn’t any gun pointed at the ceiling,” Gray added. “She pointed the gun at me…and my kids.”
On Monday, Corey backed up Gray’s story and blasted media reports that recount certain details of the shooting incident differently. Corey, along with Alexander’s attorney Kevin Cobbin, acknowledged that certain information was kept from the media to not influence a possible retrial of the case. A judge denied Cobbin’s motion for new trial last Thursday.
In an interview with Loop 21 on Monday, Alexander said Gray is not to be believed, as he has changed the story he swore to in a deposition. Gray acknowledged changing the story, but only because of a violent encounter that occurred months after the shooting incident, for which Alexander was convicted and received probation. Gray says he lied in the deposition at Alexander’s request. His wife denies that claim.
Corey said Alexander’s actions, both on the day of the incident and after, helped the prosecutor and the jury determine that she had never acted out of fear, but instead out of anger. The self-defense claim did not hold up in court. Corey also noted the fact that Alexander turned down a deal that would have shaved 17 years off of her prison sentence, taking into account Gray’s violent past.
Alexander has maintained that she feared for her life in the shooting incident and was not willing to take the deal because she believes the law protects her actions.
Gray said he does not wish to see Alexander spend that much time away from her three children, including their daughter.
“Personally, I wish she would have taken the three years,” Gray said. “I don’t wish 20 years on no one.”
As for the relationship Gray has with Alexander’s family – that, too, is strained. Gray said he does not allow visitation with Alexander’s mother, Helen Jenkins, because he believes the family is trying to have their young daughter taken away.
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“I would love the family to set aside their differences, their ill-will towards me, to work on having a relationship with me and Marissa’s child,” Gray said. “I would love that.”
“The only reason they haven’t seen (his daughter) is because (Mrs. Jenkins) kept calling (the Department of Children and Families) on me,” Gray said.
Jenkins told Loop 21 on Wednesday that child welfare service became involved after Alexander was jailed. She says Gray went to the hospital to seek custody of her daughter’s prematurely born child and that the hospital would not release her to Gray until DCF checked him out.
“That is how DCF got involved initially, because of him,” Jenkins said by phone. “He thought we wouldn’t let him see her…that may be they way he is, but that’s not the way we are.”
Jenkins said she has always tried to remain cordial with Gray for the sake of her granddaughter. Given Gray’s job as a truck driver, the fact that he’s a single father, and that Alexander remains in jail, Jenkins has concerns about who cares for her granddaughter while Gray is working.
“She is a small baby,” Jenkins said. “She needs some stability and she needs a certain type of nurturing that I don’t think that he can provide to her.”
Jenkins said she had never heard Gray express a desire to mend their relationship and grant more frequent visitation with the baby.
Gray also questions the motivation of the people who have spoke out against him. Chartrissia Anderson, the mother of one of his children, gave an interview to Loop 21 last week about Gray’s violent past. Gray said she only did that because of a dispute between the two of them.
Nonetheless, Gray would like to move on with being a father to his children.
“I’m not on trial, why do I need to go through all of this?” Gray asked, rhetorically.
Contact Loop 21 staff writer Aaron Morrison at 347-855-3140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.