It’s official: Marissa Alexander is still black. The state of Florida–the one whose jurors couldn’t decide if a white man actually murdered a black teenager he killed over loud music— has not only denied the African-American woman who fired a warning shot at her abusive husband a Stand Your Ground hearing, but is seeking triple the original sentence.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws, which protected racist murderer George Zimmerman from answering for his crimes, which included stalking underage African American boy Trayvon Martin and ultimately murdering him despite being told to stay in his car, not to follow Martin, and not to engage.
Zimmerman, who aspires to be a civil rights attorney (yes, really!), and is so guilty that even his best friend eventually spoke out against Trayvon Martin’s murderer, has become somewhat of a hero among white priders and gun rights advocates, who feel that Zimmerman did absolutely nothing wrong.
When Marissa Alexander’s case became public, Florida responded in two ways: the state acted to restrict media access to case records so that it would not be so easy to highlight cases such as Alexander’s and expanded Stand Your Ground laws to include warning shots, which would have helped Alexander, who was sentenced to twenty years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband.
Judge Daniel had previously granted Alexander a new trial on the basis of improper jury instructions. Her attorneys also sought a new Stand Your Ground hearing, which if ultimately successful would have set Alexander free without a trial. They argued that the “warning shot” law had changed the terrain and that there was new evidence. But Daniel said that the evidence – which included one of Gray’s children recanting his testimony, expert testimony on “battered women’s syndrome,” and Gray’s long pattern of domestic violence, lying to law enforcement, and instructing his children to lie to law enforcement — didn’t meet the legal standard to merit a new hearing.
Alexander was denied immunity from prosecution at her first hearing, where a judge found ”insufficient evidence that [Alexander] reasonably believed deadly force was needed to prevent death or great bodily harm to herself.”
Alexander testified at her trial that her husband, Rico Gray, threatened to kill her after a long pattern of abuse. Gray said that she grabbed the gun and fired in his direction with no provocation during an argument. After only twelve minutes of deliberation, the jury found her guilty in 2012.
Not only is Alexander being denied a Stand Your Ground defense, but the prosecutor is now seeking a 60-year sentence–triple the original–for aggravated assault. Alexander’s new trial is scheduled for December.