Friday, May 11, 2012

The different views on Marissa Alexander's case (including mine)


by Subhash Kateel 
This morning, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aggravated assault without an intent to kill.  Although her attorney promises to appeal, she may still do two decades behind bars for an incident in which no one was either killed or hurt.  This all started after Marissa Alexander was arrested in August 2010 for firing a shot that she claims was a warning shot to repel an abusive husband (Rico Gray) but prosecutors claim was out of anger and could have harmed two children that were in the house at the time. I have been following this case since April, talking to scores of people involved in the case including Marissa’s ex-husband/current advocate Lincoln Alexander, the lead Prosecutor Angela Corey (who is also the prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case), Marissa’s sister Helena Jenkins, Marissa’s lawyer Kevin Cobbin, and many others. 

I haven’t even tried to hide the fact that very little can convince me that this woman deserves to do twenty years in prison for hurting no one.  But I have tried, in my radio coverage, and writing (like here and here) on the case, to cite as much of the evidence available, so that people may make up their own minds.  In fact, our show was the first media outlet to actually cite the statements made by Rico Gray in a damning deposition.

That didn’t stop prosecutor Angel Corey from telling me on Tuesday that the media (including me) are “riling” people up and spreading “misinformation.”  Well, let me layout all of the information (most of the interviews are from our last show) that I have so that people will understand why I keep writing and talking about this case.

Here are the undisputed facts:

*Marissa Alexander is a 31 year old mother of three who had just given birth to a premature child nine days before her arrest on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill after discharging a legally owned firearm in the home jointly owned by her and her estranged husband at the time, Rico Gray.  Rico Gray’s children were present in the apartment at the time.

*Her husband Rico Gray has an alleged history of physical abuse that he has alternatively admitted and denied. 

*Neither the defense attorney nor the prosecutors dispute that Marissa Alexander was a likely victim of domestic violence.   However, Angela Corey’s office argued in a brief that the violence only resulted in “minor bruising” and never “resulted in serious bodily harm to her.” 

*Marissa Alexander fired a shot into the wall of the apartment that neither killed nor hurt anyone.  She claimed the shot was fired in self-defense, but prosecutors claim it was out of anger.

*Rico Gray called the police (the 911 tape) alleging that Marissa fired the gun at him and his children.
*After Marissa’s arrest, Rico Gray gave a 66 page deposition  where he admitted that  Marissa did not point the gun at him or his kids and that he would have “put his hands on her.”  It was in this same deposition that we heard that he put his hand on “all five of his babies’ mamas except one.”  He would later retract those statements, saying that he made them up to protect Marissa Alexander.

*After the initial incident and while out on bond, Marissa was arrested for an alleged attack on Rico Gray where he claimed she gave him a black eye and she was taken to the hospital.

Virtually every other fact in the case is disputed by someone.  Here are the questions in the case, and their answers from the different voices involved.

1.  Did Marissa Alexander fire a warning shot out of fear, or shoot out of anger?  Did she aim at Rico and his children?

Angela Corey: “the bullet happened to ricochet up into the ceiling instead of into one of the two children she aimed the gun at… the 911 call backs up the version that she went and got the gun and fired it out of anger, not fear.”

Kevin Cobbin: “the shot that was fired went through the wall in an upward direction right into the ceiling…Even Mr. Gray’s own son said that the gun was never pointed at anyone…Ms. Alexander went from having the gun down by her side when she was attacked, she raised it up in the air, flinched because she was afraid that she was going to get hit by him [Rico Gray] and fired one shot and it went straight up in a angular trajectory to the wall into the ceiling.”

Rico Gray (911 call):
:06-“She just shot at me with her gun…”
: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.”                                                                         4:54-“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…”

Rico Gray (In the deposition): “I was walking toward her because she was telling me to leave the whole time…I was cursing and all that…and she shot in the air one time…(later in deposition)…if my kids weren’t there I probably would have put my hands on her.”

Rico Gray to Politic365blog : “I was begging for my life while my kids were holding on to my side, the gun was pointed at me.”

Rico Gray to Loop21blog : ““When the incident happened, I thought I was going to die in front of my kids that day…She pointed the gun at me…and my kids.”

Many people that have commented on this case have asked me why, if she aimed and fired the gun at Rico Gray and his children, she was not charged for a crime other than aggravated assault without intent to kill?  Is it possible to aim a gun at one (or three) people, fire at them, and not intend to kill them?  While lawyers and prosecutors may scoff at the general public’s naiveté of the legal nuances of the criminal justice system, that scoffing probably won’t make the questions go away.
pic 1 of house and bullet hole

pic 2 of house and bullet hole










2.  What about the testimony of the children? Although no transcript of the children’s testimony is publicly available yet, there are court documents that refer to the testimony of both of Rico Gray’s children, who were 9 and 13 at the time :

Angela Corey: “They [Rico and his eldest son] changed their stories and then they changed it back, and the 911 call backs up the version that she went and got the gun and fired a shot out of anger, not out of fear.”
One of his sons, who was reportedly “holding on to” Mr. Gray’s side when Marissa fired the shot, testified that he did not see Marissa Alexander fire the gun, and only heard it.

The mother of one of Rico Gray’s children testified in court that her son explained to her, “Ms. Alexander did not fire at us, but rather fired in the air because Dad was beating her.”

According to Kevin Cobbin, at this point, both children have changed their stories at least once and have at some point corroborated Marissa Alexander’s story.

3.  Is Rico Gray a credible eyewitness?  The most controversial figure in this case is Marissa’s husband Rico Gray.  It is really hard not to question his credibility given his changing statements and his alleged history of violence.  But there are differing opinions:

Angela Corey regarding Rico Gray’s history of violence: “Not all of that is relevant, his reputation for violence is relevant but…we have rules of evidence that limit the way that evidence can come in.”

Chartrissia Anderson (former partner of Rico Gray) :  “I’ve been hit in the mouth, pushed into walls, he’s run me into neighbor’s homes, he’s beaten me…outside to where I have been stripped of my clothing…The last time…he hit me in my mouth.  I went into my sons room to call the police and he started to yank the cord out of the wall. Once he realized the call had went through, he ran into our kitchen…pulled out a fork…took the fork, stood in front of his son …and started stabbing himself…and told his son [the same youngest son that testified in Marissa Alexander’s case] to tell the police…that I [Chartrissia] had done it.”

Kevin Cobbin: “Mr. Gray has gotten very good at knowing how to play the system.  And a lot of these men, who abuse women, are very good.  They know, ‘if I punch her in the face she is gonna have a mark.  But if I punch her in the head…back…stomach, it won’t be visible.”

4.  Is Rico Gray a victim too?  When speaking to Loop21 and Politic365, Rico Gray has intimated that he has been a victim of domestic violence as well, citing an incident after Marissa Alexander’s arrest where she allegedly gave him a black eye.  That incident was probably the most damaging claim made against Marissa’s credibility.

Angela Corey: “What do you make of a woman who claims she is so afraid of him that she had to fire a gun at him, and then despite a judge's order while she is out on bond for these charges, goes back over there and hits him, gives him a black eye and goes to jail for it?”

Kevin Cobbin: “My client went over to that house because she had to get a birth certificate signed, her child was born premature and was about to be cut off of health insurance…when she gets over there, he wants her to stay, she says no…and he jumps on her again that day.  The police came and took her to the hospital, they didn’t take him to the hospital.” 

Well, there is the police report and the hospital record.

5.  Why didn’t Marissa Alexander take a plea?

Angela Corey: “we offered her a plea deal [three years] that she turned down because she thought she would have better luck with the jury.”

Kevin Cobbin: “My client has maintained her innocence from the first day I met her until today.  Her story has remained the same; it has been backed up.  Why should someone that’s innocent, who has done nothing wrong but defend themselves, why should they take any day in prison?”

Rico Gray: “Personally, I wish she would have taken the three years…”

What troubles me the most about the conversations on the plea deal is that, at times, it seems that Ms. Alexander is being punished for not taking a plea.  Also, as a domestic violence survivor told me, “when looking at a mother of three, spending three years in prison does not feel like a deal for a crime in which you have no prior record, you neither killed nor hurt anyone, and you would be spending three times more time behind bars for hurting no one than Rico Gray would face for his domestic battery (of Chartrissia Anderson) sentence in 2006, for which he received probation.”

While I do not believe people should go around discharging firearms, especially in homes,  I cannot look at the evidence that has been made public and say that Marissa Alexander deserves to be in jail.  As the spouse of a former domestic violence advocate, I cannot say that “minor bruising” is not enough to make a victim of domestic violence afraid for their life.  As a human being, I can say that it is important to defend people’s rights to no longer be victims.  There are many victims in this case, Marissa Alexander, her kids, Rico Gray’s kids, the families of everyone involved.  But if Ms. Alexander truly watches her kids grow up while she is behind bars, the true victim in this case will be justice.

I leave you with her words at sentencing:

"I want to address my children, you're your mothers daughter. You're strong, you are black and you are beautiful and whenever you need me don't think the distance should keep you away from me, okay? Cause I'll be here for you sooner than you think. You, you are your father's son, you have wisdom about yourself. Rihanna Gray, last time I saw you, you were 7 months and now your 22 months. I breast fed you and spent hours with you. My love is here without seeing you or not and I know that angels are watching over you and one thing I pray is that my heartbeat beats once w/ yours so that we are all in unison. I want to address my Gray children, in the short time I got to know you , you meant a lot to me as well. I encourage you all to not let this situation impact you in a way and I will continue to pray for you all and I know that you'll be okay. I am simply a woman who loved a man very much, I got no apologies, I have nothing else to say."

Also, please check our original interview with Prosecutor Angela Corey

30 comments:

  1. HER AIM NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED!

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    1. Amen! After 33 years in an abusive marriage, I am saying NO MORE! Afraid to turn the vacuum on without requesting permission to do so. WoW THAT WAS ME TODAY! I am free for the first time in many years. Yet, mentally I am imprisoned. I turned it on without asking and it was wonderful. Unless you have been abused, back off. So sorry the JUSTICE SYSTEM is the one abusing this VICTIM for the next 20 years. Disgraceful!

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    2. She kind of lost the case as soon as she broke the restraining order.

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    3. Law has no empathy or compassion. She was abused for years... so what? She got past her husband, went to the garage, got a gun from her car, got back inside the home, supposedly shot a warning shot, husband and children flee the home.

      She didn't even call the police to report it, instead the husband called the police and reported the 'gun threatening'. She was by law not in fear for her life the minute she went back inside with the gun... ((I don't understand how some of you don't comprehend that))

      It does not also help her when she assaults her husband, after she made bail. For a woman who has many years of abuse as her defensive, this is highly counter productive. ((She gave him a nice shiner))

      In my opinion both of them are abusive towards each other, she was the idiot who went a step further... the husband was no good, but she was worse.

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    4. Yep... this woman went back into HER OWN HOME with a gun to let this man know that she WILL PROTECT herself against this man who she had a restraining order against... all of this was AFTER HE THREATENED TO KILL HER....

      Now lets change the story up a lil bit... A woman (no need to bring up race) is being threatened by an ex-boyfriend/husband that she has a restraining order against... this is her property too BUT HE IS THE ONE NOT allowed to be near her... he threatens her life....she fires the gun because of SAID threat... ..... .... The EX then changes his story back and forth until he realizes he'll get in trouble... not only that his children change their stories and at least one of their mothers makes them tell the truth... EVEN IN THE POLICE REPORT THIS MAN SAID HE WANTED TO PUT HIS HANDS ON HER AND THAT HE HAD BEATEN ALL HIS " BABY MAMA'S EXCEPT ONE..... SMGDMFH ... WTF....

      WOULD YOU TELL...I DUNNO... A FARMER? THAT HE CAN'T SHOOT OF A RIFLE AS A WARNING SHOT TO LET AN ADULT TRESPASSER WITH 2 CHILDREN KNOW THAT HE IS NOT "MESSING" AROUND and will protect himself and his property?.. SHOULD he should go to jail for 20 years because he didn't run away from this trespasser and his children who THREATENED TO KILL HIM and INSTEAD WALKED TO HIS GARAGE AND GRABBED A RIFLE???... And do not even try to say "Well farmers have SIGNS that say NO TRESPASSING"... Because OBVIOUSLY this man knew he had to stay a CERTAIN DISTANCE FROM THIS WOMAN....

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  2. Here is the problem: the law is pretty clear on this. While people can sit here and say that she should have actually shot him, or that she is innocent because of the abuse, the law does not agree. Was she a victim? Yes. Was she THE victim? No. Here's a few facts that people might not be aware of or pay attention to:

    -She MARRIED Gray less than a year before the incident. She had previously had a restraining order placed against him in 2006 following his conviction of domestic violence against another woman. However, she since then had a relationship with him and had a baby with him. If she felt herself a victim, why did she marry him, or even continue a relationship with him?

    -According to her, Gray was trying to stop her from leaving, yet she got to the garage without him. While the main garage door was supposedly stuck, she did not try to leave through the other door to the outside. Instead, while not currently defending herself, she got a gun and walked back into the house. This actually ruined her "Stand Your Ground" defense, since that law allows for the prevention of a crime either being committed, or about to be committed. As she is the one who re-initiated the confrontation, she is at fault for it.

    -She was advised by her lawyers initially to claim self defense under the abused spouse laws. She instead decided to go for the "Stand Your Ground" law. If she felt she was an abused spouse, and that she was defending herself as an abused spouse, why did she not choose that defense?

    -She was arrested for domestic violence after this arrest. If you read the police report (which counts as evidence), there are a few items that damage her character. The officer states that when he first talked to her on the phone, she stated she had an alibi. However, she later says that she WAS there. When you start off with a lie, it never goes well. When she said that she was the one hit, he inspected the areas she claimed to be injured. However, he was unable to find evidence of injury to those areas. She later claims to feel lightheaded after she is arrested and is on her way to the jail. When she becomes unresponsive, two emergency units are dispatched. They report that her vitals are fine. The officer notes that there is now a small cut under her eye that was not there when she was first put into the car. This statement is verified by the other officer that is present at the interview.

    The point here is that her character is in question. Remember that being A victim does not make you innocent of crimes. The law is what it is, and the evidence supports that she committed a crime.
    (cont 1/3)

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  3. Let's look at the crime she is charged with:

    "Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill after discharging a legally owned firearm in the home jointly owned by her and her estranged husband at the time, Rico Gray. Rico Gray’s children were present in the apartment at the time."

    She is charged with three (3) counts of the above. Why? It's simple numbers: there were three people in the house besides her.

    To quote the article above: "Many people that have commented on this case have asked me why, if she aimed and fired the gun at Rico Gray and his children, she was not charged for a crime other than aggravated assault without intent to kill? Is it possible to aim a gun at one (or three) people, fire at them, and not intend to kill them?"

    The answer to that is very simple, and comes with a basic understanding of Florida law. In Florida statute 784.011:
    Assault.—
    (1) An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.

    So, it qualifies as assault WITHOUT intent to kill not because she tried to kill them, but rather because she threatened them with violence through word or act (firing a warning shot counts as a threatening act).

    Why aggravated assault? In Florida statute 784.021:
    Aggravated assault.—
    (1) An “aggravated assault” is an assault:
    (a) With a deadly weapon without intent to kill;

    Notice the parts about DEADLY WEAPON and WITHOUT INTENT TO KILL. By Florida law, Alexander had to be charged with Aggravated Assault (the parts of with a deadly weapon and without intent to kill are implied by the law itself).
    (cont 2/3)

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  4. Now, why the harsh sentence? Again, we have to go back to understanding Florida law. In Florida statute 775.087 (known as the 10-20-Life statute):
    2. Any person who is convicted of a felony or an attempt to commit a felony listed in sub-subparagraphs (a)1.a.-q., regardless of whether the use of a weapon is an element of the felony, and during the course of the commission of the felony such person discharged a “firearm” or “destructive device” as defined in s. 790.001 shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of 20 years. [note: aggravated assault is sub-subparagraph (a)1.f.]

    This means there is no choice in a guilty verdict but to sentence for at least 20 years.

    Is domestic violence a horrible fact? Yes. Was she a victim of domestic violence? The evidence says that she was. However, while no one should have to go through that, it does not automatically clear you of any crimes you commit.

    And before everyone gets up in arms: I am also a victim of domestic violence. This is NOT a shot against domestic violence of domestic violence. However, we should not advocate a return of violence. We should NOT advocate someone knowingly getting into a relationship with someone who commits domestic violence.

    Finally, we need to recognize and understand that there IS a problem with the laws. THAT is what people need to be up in arms about. Let's work to make better laws. Let's work to force the public (and politicians) to recognize the true damage of domestic violence, and take a stand to end it.
    (end 3/3)

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    1. Well said anonymous. I see it from a different perspective for the first time.

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    2. FIRST OF ALL - you are 100% WRONG.

      It doesn't matter what the law says, you never heard of JURY NULLIFICATION??? There is ALWAYS a choice. I agree mandatory minimum laws are HEINOUS and go against everything I believe in though. Knowing this, juries need to start acquitting if the person will be sentenced under mandatory minimum as part of JURY NULLIFICATION.

      YOUR QUOTE:
      So, it qualifies as assault WITHOUT intent to kill not because she tried to kill them, but rather because she threatened them with violence through word or act (firing a warning shot counts as a threatening act). SHE WAS NOT THREATENING HER CHILDREN, they were just 'there' - and I don't believe it was a 'threat' towards him, I believe it was more of a 'look here, you're not gonna choke me and beat me this time' YOU SAID THEY WERE ESTRANGED, then that wasn't his house, it was hers, right? Maybe she went back in BECAUSE her kids were in there - maybe that's why she didn't leave -

      Also that CRAP 10-20-life law, are you telling me that pulling or shooting a gun during the commission of a felony counts EVEN IF THE ACT of having the GUN IS THE FELONY? If that is true, that is OUTRAGEOUS.

      I thought laws like that were to ensure tough sentencing on armed robbers.

      I thought aggravated assault should include physical injuries.

      The laws DEFINITELY need to be changed, but, like I said, JURY NULLIFICATION - I WOULD NEVER SEND THIS LADY TO JAIL FOR 20 YEARS NO PAROLE because she fired a single bullet into a WALL as a 'show of force' so this man would just leave.

      Everybody keeps saying SHE COULD HAVE JUST LEFT, I thought thats what stand your ground was all about - why SHOULD you - it was HER FUCKING HOUSE ANYWAY

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    4. Why is the assault charge considered such a testament to Marrissa's character when we know from another instance that Rico has purposefully injured himself in order to make his abuse look like self-defense? Would this not imply that Rico is capable of injuring his own eye? And as to the police statement that she appeared to have no visible injuries - The officer never states that he "examined her". The terms "no visible injury" suggest he was going by a purely visual assessment of her condition. A head contusion (an injury noted by trained medical staff in her hospital report) would not be readily visible to the naked eye.

      Let's face this fact: the presence of children determined the short deliberation time of the jury. It doesn't matter what kind of hell a person has gone through, is going through, or currently faces- the mere idea that a child was nearby was enough reason for them to convict. No one wants to be the 'asshole' that says, "well, I wanted to acquit because there was only a .001% chance she would have hit anyone." There would be immediate backlash because we all think ANY chance of hitting a child is too large a risk to take. But whether or not a child was present does not determine the level of guilt of the accused party.

      I agree that it's possible Marrissa deserves some consequence for firing a weapon around anyone when we can't know for sure she was in immediate danger (children or not). But even in the case of Plaxico Burress, he could easily have injured any number of people who have children, care for a disable family member, are responsible for their aging parents, etc. -all of whom could potentially have been seriously affected by the injury or death of that one person. Yet he still only got 3 years.

      You can say that the laws need to be changed and it is because of the minimum sentencing laws that Marrissa is serving so much time. But this completely overlooks the fact that State attorneys are charged with the task of deciding what crimes to prosecute and how. The potential sentencing time should necessarily be a factor in their deliberations before taking the case to trial. As noted numerous times by other attorneys, there were other charges Marrissa could have been prosecuted under that would have been appropriate for the case, and yet carry lighter sentencing restrictions.


      Angela Corey was either negligent in her pre-trial considerations, or purposefully heavy-handed and insensitive to the actual circumstances of the case. Either way- this injustice really is on her.

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    5. Why is the assault charge considered such a testament to Marrissa's 'bad' character when we know from another instance that Rico has purposefully injured himself in order to make his abuse look like self-defense? Would this not imply that Rico is capable of injuring his own eye? And as to the police statement that she appeared to have no visible injuries - The officer never states that he "examined her". The terms "no visible injury" suggest he was going by a purely visual assessment of her condition. A head contusion (an injury noted by trained medical staff in her hospital report) would not be readily visible to the naked eye.

      Let's face this fact: the presence of children determined the short deliberation time of the jury. It doesn't matter what kind of hell a person has gone through, is going through, or currently faces- the mere idea that a child was nearby was enough reason for them to convict. No one wants to be the 'asshole' that says, "well, I wanted to acquit because there was only a .001% chance she would have hit anyone." There would be immediate backlash because we all think ANY chance of hitting a child is too large a risk to take. But whether or not a child was present does not determine the level of guilt of the accused party.

      I agree that it's possible Marrissa deserves some consequence for firing a weapon around anyone when we can't know for sure she was in immediate danger (children or not). But even in the case of Plaxico Burress, he could easily have injured any number of people who have children, care for a disable family member, are responsible for their aging parents, etc. -all of whom could potentially have been seriously affected by the injury or death of that one person. Yet he still only got 3 years.

      You can say that the laws need to be changed and it is because of the minimum sentencing laws that Marrissa is serving so much time. But this completely overlooks the fact that State attorneys are charged with the task of deciding what crimes to prosecute and how. The potential sentencing time should necessarily be a factor in their deliberations before taking the case to trial. As noted numerous times by other attorneys, there were other charges Marrissa could have been prosecuted under that would have been appropriate for the case, and yet carry lighter sentencing restrictions.


      Angela Corey was either negligent in her pre-trial considerations, or purposefully heavy-handed and insensitive to the actual circumstances of the case. Either way- this injustice really is on her.

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  5. SO, Anonymous,

    First, I call bullshit on your claim to be a "victim" of domestic violence. I think it is something you put in their to validate your garbage statements. Two, if you paid attention to the whole article, you would see that all three eyewitnesses have changed their claims (two being children of Rico Gray) and you would see that Rico Gray not only has a DV history, but a history of hiding evidence. If you read Rico Gray in those articles, he changes his claim in between articles.Now, I will, when I have time, go back and refute your "I am likely a prosecutor" analysis. But I will let you think abot the simplest things first.

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    1. Yeah that guy is a total slimeball. Getting her arrested a second time is typical abuser tactic, I bet he feels so damn smug right now. He's a loser and is just a nasty awful person.

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  6. I too call BS on the "victim" of domestic violence thing. If this were true, you would know that abusers are very manipulative and women in domestic violence situations return to their abusers numerous times before a.) getting sick of the abuse or b.) getting killed.

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  7. Yeah, that guys sounds like a prosecutor to me. It is probably Angela Corey herself

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  8. How could this not be viewed as a warning shot (which would eliminate the assault charge). She missed him at point blank range and SHE DIDN'T FIRE AGAIN!!! How is that not a warning shot???

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  9. Anonymous makes some very valid points that you all don't want to accept. I also agree that Anonymous probably ISN'T a victim of domestic violence. But that opinion doesn't make their point any less valid. I understand that you are passionate about this woman's sentence and the fact that she was abused. But she didn't appear to be abused on the day in question. It appears as if they got into an argument and she had a chance to leave and take herself away from the danger. I'm sorry but unless someone has a weapon or is beating you to death, you can't justify shooting a gun when children are around. If you look at the Grio.com version of the story, there are pictures of Rico's eye (swollen and bloody) when she allegedly hit him in the incident that followed the shooting. And she pled no contest for that incident. And that's really what did her in. She had no logical reason to even go near Rico after the first incident. They both had restraining orders against each other.

    They both seem to be toxic for and toward each other. But when you pull out a gun and shoot that gun near a 9 and 13 year old and your life isn't endangered, you're going to be found guilty. Grio.com says it took the jury 13 minutes to decide that case. They must've agreed with Angela Corey.

    She definitely doesn't deserve 20 years. But that's not Angela Corey fault not is it her job. The mandatory minimum is the cause for the sentence. Remember Plaxico Burress? He got 3 years in jail just because his gun went off in the club. He shot HIMSELF. The judge cited that the bullet could've KILLED ANYONE in the building. I believe Angela Corey (after she saw the evidence) felt the same way about those boys.

    I feel bad for everyone involved here. The boys, Marrissa, and Rico. They are all some broken individuals who need healing. But you can't claim "Stand Your Ground" and your life isn't in danger and let off a shot.

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  10. 20 years with no parole? No previous criminal history? A gross loser of a man who admits to abusing "4 out of his 5 babies mama's" (eye roll) THAT IS INSANITY - she didn't hurt anybody, she is not a robber, she is not a rapist, a killer, a drug dealer, a child abuser - she is and was a frightened woman who had been experiencing abuse.

    ALSO I thought the 10-20-life laws were specifically indicated for people who were ALREADY IN THE PROCESS OF PERPETRATING A CRIME, such as A ROBBERY - so if you PULL a gun during the COMMISSION OF A CRIME you get a harsher & guaranteed sentence.

    What CRIME was she in the process of committing? Somebody tell me that...how do you get charged with AGGRAVATED ASSAULT when NOBODY IS HURT ! What about INTENT ??

    Also, at DEUCE above me, how do YOU know her life wasn't in danger?? He told her he was going to kill her!! She's a tiny woman and he is a big man, a man doesn't need a weapon to kill a thin woman! She didn't SHOOT HIM or shoot at him, she shot into the wall as a warning. Maybe she was negligent but she is NOT guilty of aggravated assault and she was NOT in the process of committing another crime.

    THESE MANDATORY LAWS ARE BULL, they are wrong, and aren't our prisons FULL ENOUGH??

    This is AWFUL.

    And quit saying 'when your life isn't endangered' I'm sick of hearing that, obviously you've never been abused or in real fear for your life...we know when we see that dead look in our abusers eyes, that they DEFINITELY are capable of killing us, it's SCARY !!

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  11. bunbun4life is right. jury nullification would have been the way to go with this. the mandatory minimum sentencing was completely inappropriate for the situation and the jury should have taken ownership in the consequences of their decision. because they felt that "the law is the law is the law" and that they had no options in the situation, this woman who is not a criminal will spend 20 years in prison and her children will grow up without their mother.

    and just because everyone else used all caps somewhere in their response.... FUCK!

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  12. There is a difference between assault (whether aggravated or not) and battery. Ask any law professor and they will tell you the same thing. There does NOT have to be any contact for an assault charge, the threat is enough. The charge of "Assault AND battery" means that there was a threat AND contact with intent to harm. That being said, if it is true that she left and came back, then she is not acting under any form of self defense, she became the aggressor. I do not condone the actions of Rico Gray, She lost the self defense argument when she came back in, she had the ability to escape and chose not to make that choice. Do I feel that she should have been sentenced, maybe not to such a high degree. She should have taken the plea deal.

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  13. Well, here we go.

    If she was going to her truck to leave, why were her kids still in the house?

    If she was going to her truck to leave, why would she not take the kids along? Was their father physically restraining them? No. That would have made for a very different case. So we're expected to believe that Mom was just doing to do a runout while this dangerous, abusive dad stayed there with the kids? If she feared for her own safety, did she not fear for theirs?

    I can see why the jury might agree with the prosecution that Alexander acted in anger, not because she was cornered and had no other option.

    That said, I also have to say that mandatory minimums, without contingency for exigent circumstances, are pure bullshit.

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  14. When you take a gun safety class they really drill in 2 rules:

    1. Never point the gun in the DIRECTION of anything you dont want to destroy.
    2. Never put your finger on the trigger unless you're ready to shoot.

    She had to have done both in order to "fire her warning shot." Assault was when she pointed the gun, aggravated assault was when she discharged the firearm. When she pointed the gun in the direction of her husband (holding his son's hand, this can be refuted... not really the point), by gun safety rules she must've intended to destroy them.

    She was holding a gun, so it meant she was in full control of the situation. Unfortunately once you show your weapon (regardless of how thin you are), you are in full control, thus her life was not endangered (this is assuming the other person is unarmed).

    So in short; first crime, pointing gun, while pointing gun, she discharges her weapon, second crime. 10-20 life law gets triggered.

    Despite either persons character flaw one fact remains... she discharged a firearm in a room with kids. Is it cruel that she got 20 years? Yes. However, thirteen of her peers decided that she was guilty of those crimes.


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  15. I still have nightmares about that 'dead look'. One of my abusers tied me up, kicked and bashed me, rolled me up, unconscious, in a sheet and tried to put me the boot of my car to bury me in a local national park (at a spot he'd previously shown me). Fortunately my neighbours called the police and they actually turned up (a miracle in itself!) and stopped him. He was out on bail before I'd even been seen by a Dr in casualty. I stowed away on a container ship and hid out, penniless, in another country for 3 years to escape him. If he wasn't deceased (not by my hand incidentally- it was karma by way of cardiac arrest over 20 years ago) and he happened to walk into somewhere I was, the fear would be such it would either paralyse me or maybe now because I've become a little stronger, I might look for a weapon to protect myself. I was always too scared to defend myself when he was alive (and you can't get away, even if it looks like you have the opportunity), especially with any kind of weapon because he would just take it off me and use it against me - and my effrontery (except he wouldn't have even known that word!) would have enraged him further. A gun is good because you can use it to threaten a safety space around you. You could even shoot them in the leg or something before they could get close enough to physically harm you, providing they don't have a gun too! You are right BunBun4Life, Mandatory sentencing laws are bullshit and are used in your country, as they are in mine, to perpetuate the mass incarceration of a whole race of people. And nobody can tell me the US ain't racist! I've just been observing the Trayvon Martin case - criminal! And I'm talking about a judicial system that sanctions what amounts to the race-based, unlawful killing of a child. Self-defence, my aunt Fanny! What was Trayvon gonna do? Pelt him with skittles. If nothing else, a message should have been sent to other wannabe vigilantes, that they cannot take the law into their own hands. In this case, the message has been, yes, take the law into your own hands, by all means be vigilantes - just make sure you only shoot black people!

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  16. She fired a gun in house with children...She was in no clear danger at the time she had time to go get the gun her hubby was not trying to force her to stay against her will...she claimed the garage door was messed up but there is no proof that it wasn't working...as another reviewer posted she could have gone thru another exit and left well enough alone...

    He was the one staying in the house she came over ALONE even though she had a restraining order against him...that makes no sense...he needed to sign something...bring a friend or meet in public...

    She may have been abused in the past but in that day in question there was no battery/abuse...She attacked him after the fact...In fact it was the second attack that really did her in...

    And once again she fired a gun in a house with KIDS inside...She had my sympathy until I read that...No I agree with the judge she was not acting in self-defense she was acting in anger...and that is not OK not when the kids could have been hurt...If you are going to point your weapon at them and shoot you better aim to kill or at least seriously wound...Just shooting it at the wall is reckless you don't know where that bullet could go!


    Twenty years is WAYYYYYY to harsh...But for putting kids lfe in danger she deserves SOMETHING...Her husband may be a complete and total slimeball but in this case he was the 'victim" technically...actually the kids were even if they didn't get hurt they had to wonder why there mom was shooting at their dad? I feel bad she was abused but c'mon two wrongs don't make a right!

    ~anna~

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  17. "I haven’t even tried to hide the fact that very little can convince me that this woman deserves to do twenty years in prison for hurting no one."

    I agree. From what I have read she was guilty of at least assault and "stand your ground" should not apply. She went to her car and returned with her gun and fired a shot in the direction where not only the husband was, but two kids also. You can't leave a room, get a gun, and come back and claim "stand your ground" or self defense, especially if you have other alternatives to flee, and you are in a house where you don't even live anymore.

    However that said, the real problem is mandatory sentencing in Florida. That is the real problem.

    The prosecutor, Ms. Corey is a pure political animal and also prosecuted the Zimmerman case and I am sure she would've like to see him in prison too.

    Probably the best course would be for the governor to intervene and pardon her with punishment - appropriately - being "time served."

    There are a lot of stories going around the Internet that seriously misrepresent this case and make it like the Zimmerman case which is just false.

    Just my view.

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

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  18. "She fired a shot with KIDS inside the house".

    A home invasion, kids inside, you have a gun. Would protecting your house and family outweigh shooting that gun because children are around?

    Its a shame that a beaten and broken woman cannot have wanted to say "enough is enough", fire a round at no one, then get 20 years. I feel sorry for rape victims, and other victims of abuse. The laws work only to benefit a few. Why is it that she needed a gun? She has a restraining order on him, not the other way around. I'm curious as to why only one child was mentioned in this and not both. Going to shake my head when those kids have bruises on them for when Rico gets slap-happy.

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  19. You guys all seem to be misinformed about the word ASSAULT in the eyes of the law.

    Assault = Threat
    Battery = Physical violence.

    If I tell you I'm going to attack you, I have assaulted you.

    If I actually hit you, I have battered you.

    Aggravated assault, means threating someone with a deadly weapon. Which is exactly what a warning shot it.

    For the record, 20 years is crazy.

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  20. Let's stop acting stupid. She was trying to shoot at him. A warning shot would've been shot UP. When you're shooting parallel, you're aiming! She could have left if she felt like such a victim.

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