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July 17th, 2013
09:50 PM ET

'Stand Your Ground' didn't work for her

Gary Tuchman updates the case of Florida woman, Marissa Alexander, who is serving 20 years in prison after her "stand your ground" defense failed.

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Cheryl

    Such an obvious sign of what's wrong with the justice system. This woman was framed by an abuser, and Florida could not care less because she is black.

    August 14, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  2. Joe

    She totally deserves to go to jail. She had no right to defend herself in her own home. She should have waited till he left, then followed him and confronted him and then shot him when he tired to defend himself.

    August 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  3. Larry

    Sounds as if the prosecutor was paid off. How else do you explain what happened?

    August 9, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Mike

      Easy. Her "defense" did not pass the muster demanded by the statute. Pretty simple, really. No payoff, just not an appropriate defense for what she did.

      August 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  4. Bob

    This domestic fighting has happened played out many times between these two. She could have left him many times and didn't. She never pulled a gun before, and everything always worked out, so if she didn't pull one this time it would have too. Jail is where she belongs.

    August 9, 2013 at 5:14 am |
    • George

      You leave out one bit of pertinent information. He had a restraining order against him when he visited her home. He did not have the ledal right to be there. But of course that doesn't matter. She would have done better by shooting him rather that into the ceiling.

      August 12, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  5. Randy

    Stand Your Ground laws are designed to give a people certainty about defending themselves from immediate threats of death or great bodily harm, but certainly NOT to allow a person to leave a confrontation and return later with a gun to intimidate their opponent.

    August 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Ian

      If I read this right, this was at her crib. Word to the wise; you kick in my door, you end up on the floor.

      August 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • Muaythai

        She left , went and got a gun and came back

        August 10, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  6. Mike

    wow. that is crazy. I was firmly on george zimmerman's side in his trial. Unless evidence was left out of this story, it sounds like she really got a raw deal... Wish we knew more.

    August 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  7. Nanette

    She definitely got screwed by the system. She fired a warning shot when she could have shot him. Twenty years are you kidding me this is so wrong. Heck he probably changed his deposition because if she got out she'd have her child back and his sorry behind would be paying child support.

    August 2, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • susan

      Ask Angela Cory why she pushed so hard to prosecute this woman. She was one who prosecuted her.

      August 2, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
  8. Gideon

    She was offered a plea bargin of 3 years. She refused it.

    August 1, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Sonya

      She shouldn't have to serve 3 yrs; she fired a warning shot .

      August 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  9. Rog

    I don't understand how this woman get's 20 years for firing a warning shot. Even without the stand your ground law. We only have the details in the report though. We were not in the court room. This is in no way related to the trevon martin case though. Two different situations. It's sad that it takes the national media attempt at linking the two for this woman to get on camera if her story is true. It seems like society in general has forgotten what I tell my 7 year old often. "Two wrongs do not make a right"

    July 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  10. Jarin Whigham

    It is amazing at how so many people ignore the facts when it doesn't support their agenda. This case and the Zimmerman trial are very different. In the Zimmerman case, the prosecution could not prove that he wasn't attacked and couldn't prove that he wouldn't have died if he didn't shoot to defend himself. This woman left the conflict and returned to the scene. She could have left the threat and contacted the authorities, however, she returned in order to escalate this incident. I do believe that her sentence was too extreme though.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Ian

      So she had to leave her home and not come back?

      August 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • Muaythai

        Yes, She could have left and called the police, She was in no immediate danger once she went outside

        August 10, 2013 at 1:19 am |
      • Sharon

        No, per the report, she went INTO the garage from the house, but the garage door was stuck and she didn't have her car keys. She grabbed the gun that she had kept in the garage and THEN he came in after her. He threatened to kill her, etc. AND then she shot a warning shot. She did not leave the premises and then come back with the gun, he pursued her, cornered in the garage and threatened her. She could not get out, b/c he was blocking her way, as he threatened her.
        I think this is a travesty of justice. Although we don't have all the information, we have enough to know something is not right, and this needs to be corrected. If a woman's life is threatened by her husband, and she feels she is in fear for her life (which given the past abuse, she was, not to mention he said he'd kill her!), then I don't know how firing a warning shot = 20 years... What?????? It should be him going to jail for attacking her, and NOT her going to jail trying to defend herself FOR 20 YEARS.
        But as others have said, we don't have all the info, just enough to say this seems wrong, very very wrong.

        August 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  11. shirley

    Let me first say I am a black woman and I am never going to FL. and I have learned from both cases it is best to kill the person that way they can not tell their side and you can get off.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  12. Bre

    It is so easy to tell someone what they SHOULD HAVE DONE from the sideline. No one can ever say how they would react when placed in that same situation. However 20 yrs with no chance for parole for shooting into the wall? Now that's what needs to be questioned?

    July 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  13. Will

    Ok, I'm one of the people who believes that George Zimmerman is innocent. I also think this woman is innocent. There was a history of this guy beating her and she didn't even shoot the guy. It seems like she fired the shot to scare him off instead of killing him. Which in itself seems to demonstrate the fact that she felt threatened. I'm guessing that she had a public defender. Which is half of the problem of our court system. If you are poor, you are screwed.

    July 23, 2013 at 3:24 am |
    • Amber

      Right. There was a HISTORY, meaning she has put herself in this position on more than one occasion. Not to mention the fact that she could have ran out the front door but decided to get her gun instead.

      August 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • shay

        @amber: so you're saying that she PUT herself in the situation to get beaten?? really??

        August 8, 2013 at 2:57 am |
      • Joe R

        Where is Al Sharpton for this case? This unfortunate woman has been violated for years. But the activists will not do anything to to help strengthen families

        August 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  14. Robert

    How was her defense stand your ground when she left the so called threat, went to her car and then came back with a gun?

    July 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Will

      I believe she got to the car and realized she didn't have the key. She wanted to get her keys and leave again, but he caught her.

      July 23, 2013 at 3:25 am |
    • Linda Maggio

      Her husband was still in the house with her children- why does she have to abandone them? I wouldnt leave my kids alone with an aggressor if I had the means to get them out. what is so hard to understand about this? Stand your ground means you DONT have to run, you can defend yourself and your family and thats what she did

      July 23, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • JohnInIndyIn

      Exactly how long are you supposed to wait in the garage? You're saying it's her fault for going back in too soon. What if he had set the house on fire? I believe his history of criminal violence was hidden from the jury along with details of his past abuse offered by his previous partners including attempted frame ups were concealed from the jury. I don't think the jury even knew that he beat her baby out of her prematurely. I've seen three reports from Florida where the "journalists" interviewed prosecutors without interviewing a single person from the defense. If that's the kind of reporting you're exposed to, no wonder you want to hang her.

      July 23, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Rog

      Why should she get 20 years for firing a warning shot? Take out that stand the ground law. Unless she was trying to murder the guy she should not have gotten 20 years especially if it was self defense.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • ernesto

      It is shameful how racist folks can be, especially hiding under an issue such as stand your ground. People have the gall to state that she "escalated" the events. What the heck was Zimmerman doing getting out of his car, especially when he knew that this was not a prudent thing to do?

      July 30, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • Joe

        Exactly right! Zim escalated the situation yet he doesn't get crap. This women even if she escalated this situation gets 20 years. That's why it is the same case.

        August 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  15. DaveM

    Unbelievable. If there was ever a circumstance where "stand your ground" would have applied, this was it. What an epic fail on the part of the Florida judicial system. Of course, the Florida judicial system seems to be the poster child for epic failure as of late...

    July 22, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • G.Fawkes

      Stand your ground applies if you have a right to be there, a public street or your home for example. She didn't live there anymore, she had moved out. He had the right to be there because he still lived there. The proper thing to have done if she was really there to pick her or her kids stuff was to get a court order to do so or some other legal avenue to do so. She moved out, slapped him with a restraining order, goes back unannounced , gets into the fight in what is now his dwelling solely, leaves the confrontation to retrieve the gun and comes back and fires. She messed up.

      August 9, 2013 at 8:52 am |
  16. Ron

    In this case the SYG law does not apply to her at all. SYG law simply states that you don't have a duty to retreat if being 'attacked.' This lady lost her cool with her estranged husband during an arguement, then made a special trip to the garage to retrieve her gun, then came back and fired on her husband as he was running out the house with their kids. He was not beating her or anything like that, she simply went crazy and broke the law.

    July 22, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • JohnInIndyIn

      If someone who outweighed you by 100 pounds and who had beaten you into the hospital previously was threatening your life once again, in your own home, wouldn't you want to get to your gun? Then if you went back in and he still wasn't gone and he saw the gun and threatened you even more would you fire a warning shot? I wouldn't. I'd blow his head off and then I would be the first one to call 911 instead of him.

      July 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • joe800

        There are no warning shots in self defense. If you can fire a warning shot, youre not in immediate danger. On your back getting your face punched in is immediate danger. Leaving then coming back and shooting at the 'threat' is attempted murder.

        July 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  17. Nick

    This does not seem to be "stand your ground" but rather "the castle doctrine" as it took place in her home. Similar, but different.

    July 20, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
  18. jimmy kraktov

    When I saw the headline I thought she was in jail for killing someone. How is it possible to go to jail at all, but especially for 20 years, without parole, just for firing a gun? That is one truly screwed-up system. No way would I live in a state or country where this was possible. Simply unbelievable!!

    July 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  19. Amir

    My god, if this isn't a travesty of "justice," I don't know what is. 12 minutes to reach a verdict ? I wonder what would have been the outcome if she was a white woman ?

    July 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • JohnInIndyIn

      You should remember that she was tried in prison garb and shackles. And that most of the exonerating facts were concealed from the jury. Including her abusers history of violence against her and others. And she was using pro bono legal help. Court appointed defense attorneys are simply bureaucrats who help perpetuate the biggest prison industrial complex in the world. America has 5% of the worlds population and 25% of the worlds prisoners because justice is only for those with a big wad of cash to pay for their defense.

      July 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  20. Roberta Bruce

    Sounds like the Stand Your Ground law needs to be renamed. I suggest calling it the Last Man Standing law. Emphasis on man, rather than boy, or woman.

    July 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  21. Glo

    I used to live in north Florida and I can tell you from experience that it is as backward as any hillbilly state in the nation. I left over 30 years ago and have never regretted it. They haven't changed a bit.

    July 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  22. william Cummings

    Its a shame but if she would have killed him dead she would never had been convicted. Really a sad thing when a person gets more time for caring about life (after being beaten) then just a cold blooded killer....

    July 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  23. Dave Lassan

    Dont be surprised if they jury find the Boston bomber not guilty just like they found George Zimmerman not guilty of killing poor kid Travon..That was the worse prosecution i've ever seen defending Travon.

    July 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  24. Tom

    We clearly do not have all the facts here, 1, her criminal record would have a lot to do with this

    July 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Paul Jaramillo

      The facts are clear here. Ms. Marissa Alexander had the right to defend herself. Her husband, like some men, have nothing better to do than to beat up on women. The man was not even hit with a bullet. Like Zimmerman, even more, she had the right to defend herself, I wonder how long he had been hitting her before she had to act. If anyone says that she did wrong in this case, is racist. This this is pure gross injustice against a woman by criminal prosecutors. Why don't we protest this injustice. Injustice for a woman and an African American.

      July 20, 2013 at 12:40 am |
      • Patrick

        Another important fact is that this woman had a restraining order against this guy, it was illegal for him to be there in the first place.

        August 14, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  25. Susan

    I think the difference here is that she left the scary situation (which means she was no longer in imminent danger) but then returned to the scene with a murder weapon. I'm all for women getting the help they need, but the proper channels could have helped her leave the situation and then safely remove her children. Big, BIG difference here.

    July 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • JohnInIndyIn

      She was trapped in the garage. He could have been setting the house on fire. She went back and he was still there, advanced toward her threatening to kill her, she fired a shot into the wall to scare him off. It worked. He called 911 first and framed his victim. If she hadn't had the gun, she probably would be dead, or back in the hospital where he had put her before.

      July 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Bre

      Its always so easy to say what somebody could have done when you've never been in a heated situation like this one.

      July 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  26. N Fischer

    This story makes me want to quit my job and go to Florida to try and help this woman.

    July 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  27. Ben

    The stand your ground law was not applicable to her as she was firing warning shots not defending or fearing for her life. She violated the law. I don't think the sentence was fair since no one was killed but the law has a built in one sided indemnity defense that the court will accept if the offender is killed, which he was not.

    July 19, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Cristina

      Actually Ben, she WAS defending and fearing for her life. This particular news clip does not go into those details, but simply google any articles and her to see the facts. I truly hope they will take a second look at her trial, but something is seriously wrong with what happened here ...

      July 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  28. Margaret

    WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW This woman was defending her self against a husband that admits to beating all of his baby moms but one an she still got 20 years just for discharging her gun an in the same state Zimmerman pulled out his gun an killed a teenage boy. And for the jury to only take 12 mins to decide weather she's guilty or not they must have already hasd their minds made up from the beginning of the trail.

    July 19, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  29. Paul Foley

    Verstehen: Look it up!
    I'll start with a don't like Jesse Jackson's politics or involvement with Zimmerman and I don't feel Zimmerman was guilty of anything more than being very stupid. Marissa made a horrible mistake by trying to spare the life of her husband. Had she killed him, she likely would not be in jail. The justice system is blind, which has worked in the essence of impartiality. However, jurors have the right to find people innocent if they feel actions were justified and that under the circumstance a crime wasn't committed. Marissa should not be in jail! These decisions are only going to drive honest people to not report crime and to be untruthful about what happened. "Give me liberty or give me death"

    July 19, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • Miguel Caron

      You should know that after Marissa got bail for the initial arrest she went over to see her ex-husband AGAIN where she would attack him and injure his face. Her bail was immediately revoked and she was arrested again. Doesn't sound like something a scared woman would do, does it?

      She is not a victim of domestic violence – she is a willing participant.

      July 21, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • JohnInIndyIn

        That's one incident that was not concealed from the jury. Her subsequent actions were used to convict her of a previous charge. She was obviously suffering from untreated post partum depression and years of post traumatic stress disorder and probably even traumatic brain injury from his previous assaults on her. There was no money in her public defense fund to have her examined. Poor people go to work for Unicor. Rich people go free.

        July 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  30. John Osbourne

    Marissa A. like George Z was defending herself and She should be set free !!!

    July 19, 2013 at 3:16 am |
  31. Paula Suasa

    So in Florida women can't defend themselves.

    July 19, 2013 at 1:31 am |
  32. joanne

    This is a travesty of justice. The reason given by the prosecutor that her children were victims of the gun shot is soooo ridiculous. I wish them luck on the appeal.

    July 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  33. Angie Darnell

    Obviously, she was mentally and physically tortured...and was a wreck. If people can agree Zimmerman was stupid for getting out of his truck, yet still approve of that verdict, how can anyone not give this woman the same consideration? SHE HAD REASON to stand her ground.Facts known. Her husband WAS a criminal. Seems to me, no better example of stand your ground. If you are afraid for life in your own home from a known abuser, why does it matter where she had to go to get the gun to scare HIM? And as a mother, I would probably be protecting my children in that situation too.

    July 18, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  34. anniem

    Oh PLEASE! What went on here? Were they worried she could have struck the kids? She knew very well where those kids were. Are they convinced that the guy really made it up to protect her? Just check his history. Who is the one with the history of violence? Who admitted it?
    I would say that her lawyer was asleep and the jurors just wanted to go home.
    This will be overturned and I am certain a clear thinking court will look at all this evidence and release her without a record. Why was she charged as she was?
    I was tweeting with a woman in India at the time of those horrible rapes. I asked her why more women don't carry mace? No, it is not their fault, but for protection. She stated the woman would be arrested for assault because nothing had happened yet.........
    So now a woman doesn't have the right to be safe in her own home, she must run if able,or take it and limp into the ER after he beats her for the final time. Wow.

    July 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Brandon

      This will not be overturned. It can't be. She was given a sentence of twenty years because of a mandatory minimum law in Florida, where anyone who pulls a gun while committing a felony gets an automatic 10 years, anyone who fires gets an automatic 20, and anyone who hits someone with a bullet gets a minimum 25 to life. She was found guilty when her stand your ground defense was thrown out because she left and came back with the gun. There was no judge's discretion because there couldn't be. This was a pretty easy aggravated assault conviction for the jury to make when testimony said she came back into the house after already having left and firing blindly into the room where two children stood in an attempt to scare her abusive husband from whom she had already run.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  35. Alvin Lewis

    well;discharging her weapon to scare her husband in their home is one thing;but discharging her weapon to scare her husband while the KIDS are their is unacceptable;sure she scared her husband;but she put Fear in the heart's of those children and lets hope they don't suffer from any PTSD issue's from that;so she can cry until pigs fly;but that was Bad Judgement & Child Endangerment.if her husband had done that;she would have been the first to call 911 and demand justice;so she got what she wished for someone else–Justice. The Law is the Law,wrong is wrong and Right is Right weather you are a Man,Woman or Child Black,Brown or White......The Soldier's of Humanity

    July 18, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  36. sally

    I shouldn't comment since I don't know all the facts, but if the video is true, that verdict is wrong. Noone was killed and she was defending herself. I would have been scared in that situation too. Zimmerman kills someone and gets off and she just shoots a warming shot and gets 20 years. its crazy.

    July 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Miguel Caron

      Here are some court facts for you:
      - The entrance she said she could not escape (Garage door) functioned before and after the event, so her claim it didn't work is dubious
      - She shot AFTER he husband put his hands up in surrender WHILE he had his two kids next to him
      - After making bail on the first incident she drove over to her husband's and attacked him injuring his face, getting her bail revoked

      Given those three facts I can understand the verdict, though the sentence is far too long.

      July 21, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  37. Catherine

    This is appauling... What is happening in this country.... I want to plead to anyone who can help get this poor woman out of jail to DO SOMETHING!!!' It is not justice, but another crime! I am simply orrified....

    July 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  38. Brad Johnson

    To bad they don't have the facts of this case. She was being beaten but she fled the house to her car to get a gun and came back in to confront her husband. That is attempted murder. The bullet hit the wall next to him and ricocheted and hit the ceiling.

    July 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Brittany

      She didn't come back to confront her husband, she went back to get her keys and he blocked her exit to leave the home and said he was going to kill her then she fired warning shots. You didn't listen to the interview. The man said him self he beats all of his children's mothers... sickening.

      July 19, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Miguel Caron

        The thing in the court found she was lying about being blocked off. The garage door worked and STILL works despite her claim it didn't open. More than that, she fired on the man AFTER he put his hands up WHILE his two kids were next to him.

        The only thing disgusting about this case is how the media only tells her story and not the evidence in court. Sounds familiar....

        July 21, 2013 at 10:01 am |
        • JohnInIndyIn

          You'll see in Rico's deposition that the garage door in fact did not work. Even if it did work, she could have been pushing the button too quickly, or Rico could have been pushing the other button, or he could have tripped the circuit breaker, or he could have unplugged it, or he could have engaged the mechanical lock. He beat her up when she was pregnant but you think he's the victim. I guess Rico's deposition doesn't really matter though since he gets to change his testimony to better suit the prosecutions case without fear of perjury charges. He had practiced framing an earlier
          partner when he told his son to tell the police that she stabbed him with a fork when he had in fact stabbed himself with a fork. Why wasn't anyone involved with that incident called as a defense witness? Why is the abuser the star witness?

          July 23, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  39. Ken Ewan

    I want to know what the make up of her Jury was... She obviously has been screwed by the system!

    July 17, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
  40. Carl

    In both cases, it was decided that the law didn't apply, so how can they be examples of it?

    August 9, 2013 at 6:36 pm |

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