Saturday, May 19, 2012

4 Lies, Distortions and Inaccuracies made in the Marissa Alexander case

By Subhash Kateel


In has been over a week since Marissa Alexander, a mother of three, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aggravated assault after firing a gun into a wall that hurt no one in what she claimed was an attempt to defend herself against an abusive husband.  Since the sentencing last Friday, the prosecutor in the case, Angela Corey and her star witness/Marissa’s allegedly abusive husband, Rico Gray, have been on a virtual speaking tour telling their sides of the story, sometimes together.

While Angela Corey, who is also the prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case, reached out to several press outlets (including ours) in the past few weeks, I believe that her and Rico Gray’s statements to the press, this week in particular, have been marked by inaccuracies, distortions of truth and blatant lies.  Here are a few of them.

1.  Marissa  “shot a gun at” or "discharged a gun to kill” her husband and his children the day she was arrested.

This week, Angela Corey’s office shifted from merely having a different take on the facts than Marissa Alexander to straight out lying about those facts.  In a recent interview she gave to CBS news, she stated:
"She [Marissa] discharged a gun to kill them, [her husband and his children] and she has to answer for that."
This is a disappointing step from past statements made by either Corey or Rico Gray where they claim that Marissa “aimed and shot” at Rico Gray and his two young children that were in the house at the time.  Disappointing because the accusation that she “aimed and shot” at someone is probably wrong, but the insinuation that she tried to kill anyone is a bald faced lie.  To prove it is a lie, you would either have to do hours of research…or just read the crime Marissa was charged with…out loud…once.  Please join me:
 “Aggravated Assault…without intent to kill.” 
At no point does the evidence or the charge even suggest that she was trying to kill anyone.  But what about the claim that she “aimed and shot” at her husband and his kids?  When looking at the pictures from the crime scene and listening to the 911 tape, which Angela Corey told me would both prove that Marissa “shot at” someone, you don’t get the sense that either piece of evidence proves any of that.  For one, as I have said before, Rico Gray tells three different stories on the 911 tape:

:46-“She was shooting at me and my son”
4:45-“I can’t believe she'd shoot in front of me…[corrects himself] shoot at [emphasis his] me…I’m so pissed off right now.”
7:12-“She just aimed the gun at us then she shot…well I know she probably wasn’t aiming at my kids…but she might as well be…”

The most revealing section of the 911 tape is at 4:45, where Rico Gray seems to change his story and correct himself mid-sentence.  He first seems to imply that Marissa fired a gun in front of him (rather than at him), and then quickly restates and almost emphasizes to the 911 dispatcher that she fired at him. And this was supposed to be one of the strongest pieces of evidence to prove Marissa’s guilt.

Even the photos that Angela Corey’s office gave me, which she said would clear up any doubt that Marissa shot at her husband, show a single bullet hole at least a foot into the wall with an exit hole in an upward direction (and not “ricocheting" as Corey has claimed). Looking at the picture, it seems clear that if Marissa was aiming at anyone, they were either behind the wall or she is the worst shot in the history of people to ever qualify for a Florida Concealed Weapons Permits. 
Bullet hole pic 1

Bullet hole pic 2

2.  Rico Gray never abused Marissa or anyone else.  If he did, it is not relevant to the case.

The second most disappointing set of statements Angela Corey has made to the press relate to Rico Gray’s well-documented, yet often denied, history of violence towards his significant other(s). This history of violence has frequently been minimized or deemed irrelevant by Angela Corey.  Just this week, she took the unusual step of allowing Rico Gray to speak to the Jacksonville-based media from her own office.   In his virtual joint press conference with Corey, Rico Gray implied that the stuff he said in a past deposition about having “five babies’ mamas” and putting “hands on every last one of them except one" was a lie to protect Marissa.  Lie or not, Angela Corey has insisted that “not all of that is relevant,” to the case.

To be clear, Rico Gray is not on trial.  To also be clear, we technically live in a system that believes you are innocent until proven guilty.  But to be even clearer, this man has told a different tale about his domestic violence (or three tales in the 911 tape) virtually every time he speaks to someone. 

But the story that hasn’t been told enough is that of the other women that have been previously involved with Rico Gray.  In fact, the jury was unable to see several letters written by former wives, girlfriends or in-laws of Rico Gray (many that barely knew Marissa Alexander) that recounted bone-chilling stories of pistol-whipping, being beaten and stripped of clothing, and having door locks super-glued on them. Perhaps the most relevant part of their accounts isn’t the alleged history of abuse but Rico Gray’s alleged attempts to cover up that abuse by manipulating and lying to law enforcement. At least one of those alleged cover-ups involved Gray enlisting his younger son, who was also a key witness in Marissa’s trial, in lying to law enforcement. In a previous piece, we highlighted the story of Chartrissia Anderson, who claimed that during a specific incident in which she called the police on Gray, he stabbed himself with a fork and asked his younger son to tell the police that Chartrissia did it.  But there are other cases too. 
  • An ex-partner and mother of one of Rico Gray’s children (the same one that testified in court during Marissa’s trial) alleged that Rico called the police on her after he threw a chair through her car windshield, telling the police she was at his house threatening him with a gun.  According to her, the police never found a gun because she never had one. “[Rico] has had me arrested 3 times because I fought back.” She said. “He is the biggest liar I have ever met…he make[s] you believe he is innocent.”
  • Another letter written to the court by a woman who didn’t experience Rico’s attacks but witnessed his rage against one of his former partners stated,  “I can only imagine what he did behind closed doors with Marissa.  I can attest to being in fear for my life, and he wasn’t upset with me…”
So what exactly is so irrelevant about a star witness’ history of violence, especially when that history of violence includes allegations of lying to law enforcement and recruiting other eyewitnesses (his children) in covering up his abuse?  I have yet to hear an answer that satisfies me. It is also not clear why Rico Gray’s recantation of his 66-page deposition admitting to abusing all five of his “babies’ mamas, except one,” is taken at face value.  Admitting to abusing five ex-girlfriends/wives  “except one” seems like a very oddly specific lie to make up to protect someone.

3.   Angela Corey was just doing her job. If you want to blame something, blame Florida’s 10/20/Life mandatory minimum laws.  

In some ways, Florida’s 10/20/life mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the ones that gave Marissa an automatic 20 year sentence just for firing a gun without hitting anyone, are absolving the prosecutor in this case of any sins in the same way that the “stand your ground” debate helped to absolve the police and original prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case of their mishandling of his murder investigation. In an otherwise good piece on CNN’s website, Roland Martin points to the 10/20/Life law as being the real shame of the Marissa Alexander case. If only that were true. Despite Angela Corey’s insistence to me that she tried her best to be equitable in Marissa’s case, the record says the opposite. While it is clear that the 10/20/life laws of Florida really do tie the hands of judges in sentencing, they often end up making the prosecutor the king/queen of the courtroom.  As a former prosecutor and a defense attorney told me on my show Wednesday, Angela Corey had plenty of choices if she wanted to properly penalize Marissa for shooting a wall but still ensure a fairer sentence (as compared to people that …you know...decapitated someone). The original arrest report, seems to confirm that fact.  

If you look at the police report, the firearm wasn’t listed under the charges.  The firearms aspect of the aggravated assault charges seems to have been added on later (or enhanced) by Corey’s office.  As former prosecutor Eric Matheny told me on the show, at that point, Angela Corey didn’t have to add the enhancement that brings with it the mandatory 20 year sentence. 
"I'll tell you what they could've done because I had this exact situation...I had a client who was an elderly his 80's...he was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm...what [the prosecutors] did was they charged him with aggravated assault, they did not list the firearm enhancement...punishable by five years in prison, no mandatory minimum...if found guilty the judge would've been free to do whatever the judge wants to do...prison...probation..."
Civil rights attorney John De Leon also argues that there are other, more appropriate charges that Marissa could have been charged with that would have had severe sentences, but not quite the 20-year mandated prison term.
"An assault (second degree misdemeanor) could have been charged instead of an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon...which would probably have been the appropriate charge in this case."
4.  A 20-year sentence is necessary to discourage people from firing guns.

The six people or so, besides Angela Corey, that believe Marissa Alexander’s sentence is appropriate reiterate a point that she made to the press:
"I feel like when someone fires a loaded gun inside of a home…we have to have tough laws that say you don't do that"
In talking with domestic violence survivors that are outraged by this case, Marissa’s conviction seems to be having the opposite effect of what Ms. Corey suggests. “If she was going to get twenty years anyway, she should have just killed him [Gray], so other women wouldn’t have to suffer!” has been a common refrain in personal conversations and comment boards since Marissa’s sentencing.  That is part of a "perverse irony" Greg Newburn from Families Against Mandatory Minimums describes:
“Let's face it, there is a significant possibility that she wouldn't have faced any prosecution at all had she killed him, because there wouldn't have been a second story to contradict hers...her decision not to kill this person is what put her in prison for 20 years...that's a perverse irony of the law [10/20/life].”
There are many reasons I keep talking about this case.  For one, victims have a fundamental right to stop being victims.  I also believe that the outcome of Marissa’s case, coupled with the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case, will for generations to come determine the future of race relations, victim’s rights, defendant’s rights and basic conceptions of justice.  As it stands now, there is a chance that of two individuals, both claiming self defense in a case prosecuted by the same person, one may be imprisoned for twenty years for hurting no one while the other just might go free after killing someone.

As the first outlet to read and disclose the actual evidence in the case to the public, please read some of our other work on the case, including The Different Views on Marissa Alexander's Case. To check out our other work on Marissa Alexander, check them out here, here, here and here.

Also check out our radio program where we interview Angela Corey below.




      Those are the fact of the case. The jury saw what she did as attempted murder. These 4 lies are silly compared to what happened in this case.

    2. thanks for your reply. But, anytime you talk about the "facts" and say the jury convicted her of "attempted murder," you are making the biggest mistatement of fact. She was NEVER charged with attempted murder and NEVER convicted of attempted murder. Her charge was for aggravated assault WITHOUT intent to kill. So if the prosecutor really believed that she was trying to kill her husband, why didn't she charge her with attempted murder? Because she didn't and doesn't. Prosecutor Corey spent 40 minutes on the phone with me and not once did she claim that Marissa tried to kill her husband until after the verdict and she hit the news circuit. It is shocking how you will cite a youtube clip that relies entirely on a brief from a prosecutor that is know to overcharge defendants as "fact."

  2. Ecellent look at this case. I, too, am outraged at the sentence. And then to find out that Corrine Brown and Angela Corey were involved in this case. The same Corrine Brown who made the statement that "George Zimmermena profiled, pursued, tackled, and shot an innocent boy," when none of those statements are based on fact, make me even more outraged.

    This case points out many flaws with our justice system - mandatory sentencing, a prosecutor's missuse of power, and just plane common sense.

    There are many instances where people have committed heinous crimes and have gotten much less jail time.

    The first step in rectifying situations like this are to get rid of the people responsible. At the top of that list are Corrine brown and Angela Corey.

  3. Sickening. And now her kids have to grow up without their mother around. If she had been a white woman she'd have gotten off. (Saying that as a white woman)

  4. "She was aiming at us"

    "She shot at me and my sons"

    What kind of deliberate bullshit are you trying to spin here? It sounds like a man who just got shot at. A warning shot it not aimed at someone's head and misses by inches. A warning shot goes in the ceiling.

    The guy was an abusive asshole, a dick, treated her like shit in the past. But she was on bail for assaulting him. This blog is as bad as the lying MSM, trying to make racial cases out of nothing.

    Just like Zimmerman trial, forget that he was on the phone to police, stopped following when told to, was waiting to meet up police, and martin, who was already at home, went back to find Zimmerman.

    Forget that there was a spree of home invasions and robberies in Zimmerman's neighbourhood. Forget that they found woman's jewelry in Martin's backpack previously, that he was selling guns and drugs (found in text messages), that he was fighting and bragging to his friends about it, but lying to parents. Forget all the facts, and you get your distorted view points.

    You and mass media who are spinning this into some BS racially divided accounts of injustice are irresponsible, and a drain on society.

    "She aimed the gun at us and shot", how more clear do you need to be about Alexander? She was on bail for assaulting him. If he assaulted her in the past, it doesn't mean she has a hunting license to kill him the rest of his life.

    Stop the BS race baiting, since Trayvon was killed, two black teenagers shot and killed a WOMAN'S BABY. A goddamned baby. Where are the protestors?

    Two more teenagers killed a white Father.

    A couple more killed a Mother in a robbery.

    Where is the racial divide there? Where is Jackson and Sharpton protesting their own race's indignant killings of innocent white people?

    And you wonder why there is prejudice against young kids running around acting like they is "gangsta"

    Wont surprise me if you delete this comment, since the truth hurts and all.

    1. I want to thank you for your comments. However,maybe because there is a lot of information over alot of different articles to view. But Mr. Gray has said at least three different versions of the story, one in which he says that everything he said in the 911 tape is a lie. Plus

      "A warning shot it not aimed at someone's head and misses by inches. A warning shot goes in the ceiling."

      The pictures very clearly show the bullet went firmly into the wall at an upward trajectory and into a ceiling. They were never inches away from his head. That would be attempted murder. And she was never charged with that. You are either not looking at the pictures, not reviewing the evidence or reviewing it hastily. Which I understand, because it is alot of evidence. But considering how much time you put into writing, I would think you can put at least that amount of time reviewing the evidence.

      Now about race. It is funny that you accuse me of race-baiting. I not one of my posts did I mention race or racism. You mentioned racism several times, not me. It must be on your mind alot.

    2. John Griswald, you just really obviously will believe anything if it suits your racist and misogynist agenda. you clearly have a lot invested in believing that Marissa Alexander could not possibly be being victimized by our "justice" system for defending herself (because black women are never innocent, right? [/sarcasm]), and in believing that all black people are inferior and violent and that whites are "innocent" [i bet you think the white racist serial killer Mark Stroman was a goddamn hero]. and the nerve of you to blatantly lie and spew racist propaganda and then smugly end your post with "the truth hurts".
      (sorry if this shows up multiple times, i had to try a lot of times before i could get the comment box to work and i may have messed up)

    3. I don't understand John Griswald's point tbh.
      Are you meaning to say Trayvon deserved to be killed? Are you trying to say that George Zimmerman happened to know that he stole jewelry, dealt drugs and held illegal weapons? Did he execute him on behalf of mankind? Doing us a favour? Get out of here with your weak arguments. Trayvon did nothing illegal that night. It isn't illegal to follow anyone, but it isn't illegal to go to your local store for something to eat. Zimmerman had NO reason to follow him, as Trayvon; 1. Did nothing wrong, and 2. Zimmerman couldn't tell he had previous illegal activity. So how would Zimmerman think he was a criminal and thus worth pursuing? You did mention the "spree of robberies" in his neighborhood, perpetrating by a BLACK YOUTH. So if Zimmerman was to think Trayvon was a "punk" who was "up to no good" and "always got away", maybe it was possible that Trayvon was...


      It doesn't matter if he turned back, it doesn't matter if he initialized the confrontation. Zimmerman PROFILED HIM. Even if it was in self-defense, it WAS racially-motivated to follow him. Wearing a hoodie and being black in a white neighborhood is suspicious and allows someone to know your entire criminal record? Was Zimmerman Ms. Cleo that night?
      The OP never ONCE said in this whole essay that anything was racially motivated. It seems as if you're making a loose argument based on loose grounds.

    4. You mention cases where black criminals killed white persons and how there was no outrage about that. Are you saying that every time a black person commits a crime against a white person, all blacks should feel responsible for that and protest about it? Thats rather absurd. Blacks didn't protest because we Zimmerman was white ( I know, he's hispanic, you understand me) and killed a black person. they protested because he killed a black kid and was allowed to walk away from it with seemingly no accountability.

      In the cases you are talking about, if that was what was happening, that these victims were killed and it appeared that there would be no accountability for their killers at all, I would expect white people to protest and I would support them. But thats not true of any case you cited is it?

  5. Wow you are very ignorant and disgusting and your facts are beyond wrong.... Trayvon was an innocent child who belonged in that neighborhood and Zimmerman acting like he was a cop and stalked and preyed upon this child... He did not stop stalking this child when the police dispatcher told him to leave him alone.... Trayvon never made it home so please stop spreading lies about an innocent dead child who was solely stalked because of his race... I don't care how many robberies where in that neighborhood Trayvon did not rob those neighbors.... You are justifying racial profiling should we begin to profile you because you are a white man and many of you are known to rape... Should I view you as a rapist.... You are a complete moron and the reason why this country is so full of hate bigotry.... You will never know what it's like to be feared because you have a darker skin complexion.... So please keep you asinine analogies of something you couldn't possibly understand to yourself.... A black women shoots the ceiling and gets 20 years a white man kills a black boy and walks out of court a free man... This is the justice many blacks know in America... And that's a fact ....

  6. A petition for a presidential pardon for Marissa Alexander has been started on the White House Petitions site, We the People. It needs 150 signatures before it can be seen by the general public. Will you sign it and will you please share the link?

  7. Kneejerk Hoodwink,
    It will never convince many black (and some whites) as to the non-guilty verdict of Zimmerman. Remember, non-guilty is NOT the same as innocent. The verdict is based upon "reasonable doubt" and that is based upon the prevailing evidence. Zimmerman didn't know that Martin lived or didn't live in the area. There were over 420 calls to police for all manner of crimes in the area. Zimmerman WAS a principle...if not the primary neighborhood watch volunteer. Also, the direction of the dispatcher does NOT have the force of law. If Zimmerman wanted to evaluate the situation, he can and did. The advisement was to reduce the likelihood of an altercation. And by all evidence it appeared that Martin attacked Zimmerman. Martin was on top of Z. and beat his face in; that was apparent by the photos. At that point, Z. fear for his life (Martin had slammed Z. head into the concrete at LEAST twice)and Z. nose appeared to be broken. That is sufficient to conclude his life was more in danger than not. So what if Martin was 17 and a "kid". Plenty of 14-17 y/o are in jail or workhouse for violent crimes. That's immaterial...and Z. didn't ask for his I.D. anyway, rhetorical for dumbass.

    Just like Zimmerman...this "tale" has a lot more to it than meets the eye, and probably DOES need to have a retrial. And frankly, the vast majority of crimes in the black community are black on black, but there's nowhere some grand outcry from this community about violence and murders. Look at Chicago. The problem is the message sent to black youth, from that stupid and ignorant hip-hop Rap crap to the perception within the black community. Take reponsibility for BLACK fathers to be around to raise their chillen, and BLACK mammas to not have musical beds and have a fambly with numerous baby daddies. WTF is wrong with all of that. It's ubiquitous! Quit passing on blame to a cultural phenomenon which is APART from white society, where bastard chillen ARE THE NORM.

  8. wants to expose the jurors on this case that took less then 15 minutes to deliberate on sending this mother away for 20 years.

    If you have the names or pictures of the 3 men and 3 women jurors, please send to

    If you have any lead whatsoever as to who we should talk to so that we can track down any of the 6 jurors, please give us that persons contact info.

    We know it has been a few years, but we want to interview a juror or two - those that do not cooperate we will go ahead with our policy of anyone affecting anyone is subject to scrutiny and will publish any name or picture we find of any of them. If they want to interview though, we will allow that person to remain anonymous. Please spread the word. Those in the courtroom, even Marissa, can describe what the jurors looked like - their ages, etc - so we can begin to track them down.

    We recently took on the Skylar Neese murder case & exposed the killer Shelia Eddy. Numerous outlets then reported on our story, including RadarOnline & the Examiner.

    We are offering a $1,000 reward / researcher's fee for the names of the jurors & their pictures. We want answers from Marisa Alexander's jurors, & if they refuse to tell us why they carelessly convicted her under 15 minutes - their names & pictures will be published

    1. Reading this has made me sick. I understand that you want answers, and that's all well and good. But saying that you'll release their photos and names is just wrong. It's an invasion of privacy, and anyone who gives you any information is just as bad a person as you are.

      Additionally, saying "Give us an interview or else" is called extortion, and it's illegal.

    2. I think the jury did not do a good job deliberating a mere 12 minutes before jailing her for 2 decades. However, a great deal of evidence was withheld from them.

      More to the point though, our legal system can't be one in which jurors are vilified and hounded after a case. they can be criticized, but hunting them down to hound them after a verdict, even a really bad one, isn't the way our society should operate either, or who will serve on juries or if they serve do it fairly?


  10. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!!! What if Trayvon had been armed and shot Zimmerman? He would have been a text-book case of SYG. However, as some researchers have already, revealed, if you hope to successfully invoke the SYG defense, you had better be white.

  11. Hello Marissa,

    The reason for my present communication to you is to remind you to stick to your heart, what you know to be morally true, and to be patient with everyone above your own self. As a human being trying to work for peace and justice I must tell you that I have never been more offended by some of the remarks on this page. As a human being, a veteran and a person of conscience I cannot agree with them and still call myself human. I am still here and I do speak, just once in a great while.

    As a Buddhist (and I am not selling soap here) In attaining humanity I was born in 1952 a white-looking half-breed (Iroquois) during a time of great inequality and injustice. Whom I perceive myself to be now is the culmination of a few life stories, many mistakes and a universe full of questions. Born into poverty and the projects I look back now on my life and question the many blessings that were before me even though they were not requested they were inherently mine as a white male. I continue to admin at FBs “Support for Marissa Alexander” site and as your chief ‘gunny sergeant’ I tell you to look at the number of people who are behind you, and your Army continues to grow. Internationally it is even more. So please do not fear those who would drag you down and make you lose sight of the mission. What Rosa Parks did for a nations attitude towards Civil Rights you are doing for Women’s rights.

    It is about time that ALL MEN in the United States of America take and assume responsibility for our actions and our behaviors. Especially Murdering Extortionists, Political Hostage takers, terrorists, Saboteurs, and anarchists, squealing political pigs aka Senators, Congressmen, Party members, Corporate CEOs. Oh yeah and all members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate America’s own inner circle (SchutzStaffel) SS.

    I commend you and the admins of this site for their bravery and fairness in your decision to post said statements. By this act, you have not only shown true fairness, you have shown that yes, racism and bigotry continues to thrive out of control in our land and that we must continue the fight against ignorance and hatred.

    In closing this note I must try to explain to you that I have never felt more alive than I do in these days. Through challenging days and bad news I've grown to learn about myself in ways that I had known nothing about. It is with continuing fervor and determination that we forge ahead to your success by driving a final stake through Jim Crow’s coffin.

    HATERS: Be it Arabic or black, transgendered or gay, Filipino or disabled, America The Beautiful is coming to a neighborhood near you.