Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman who was sentenced in 2012 to 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband out of fear for her safety, was released from jail yesterday. A plea deal, and a judge’s rejection of the prosecution’s request for additional sentencing, ended Alexanders time in prison and will allow her to spend the remainder of her amended sentence on house arrest, Jacksonville’s WJXT reported.
Upon leaving the courthouse, Alexander read a statement saying:
“Today, after the sentence given by Judge Daniel, my family and I will be able to move on with our lives. Although the journey has been long and there’s been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here, where I am today, without the thoughts, many thoughts and many prayers of so many people who voiced their support and encouragement. Words can never express my gratitude for those who stood beside me, including my children and family. I am also grateful that Judge Daniel approached this care with such care and diligence.”
Alexander will now be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor for two years and will only be allowed to travel to work or job interviews, church, her children’s schools, and medical and dental appointments without a judge’s permission.
This case brought even more attention to Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law after the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin thrust it into the national spotlight. As a result of Alexander’s case, a new provision was added to the law, allowing those who threaten to use a gun or who fire a warning shot when in fear for their safety to avoid criminal charges in certain cases.
Had this revised law been in effect when Alexander’s case went to trial, there is a chance that she would have avoided any jail time as her stepson verified her claims that his father had threatened to kill her. Instead, Alexander, who neither shot nor injured anyone, lost three years of her life and is now saddled with nearly $11,000 in fees associated with the ankle monitor.
And while Alexander might finally be out of jail, what little justice was served came several years and several thousands of dollars too late.
Amy is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow her on Twitter @AEddings31.