JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Marissa Alexander appeared in court on Monday morning. She's the Jacksonville woman whose arrest has sparked a new debate surrounding the Stand Your Ground law.
Alexander is looking at 20 years in prison if she’s convicted on aggravated assault charges after she fired a warning shot through the roof of her home during what her lawyers say was a domestic dispute. She and her husband Rico Grey reportedly got in an argument during which Alexander says Grey started beating her.
She then went to the garage to try to leave, but says the garage door wouldn't open. That's when she says she got her gun. When her husband saw that she was carrying a gun, Alexander says he threatened to kill her. That's when she raised the gun and fired a shot through the roof of her house. Grey his two children left the house immediately. Alexander was later arrested.
"She can't give life so she didn't want to take one but at the same time she needed to protect her life," says Helena Jenkins, Alexander's mother.
Judge Elizabeth Senterfitt ruled that Alexander’s testimony did not show that she was in enough danger for Stand Your Ground to apply.
Jenkins says the firearm was registered and her daughter was just protecting herself.
"She had a concealed weapon permit for it. She has never had to use it, never hoped she would. But I thank God that day that she did have it," says Jenkins.
Those at the prayer vigil tell us Stand Your Ground seems to only apply to certain situations, and that the law needs to be reviewed. The case began to garner national attention in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder investigation in Sanford, Florida that has many questioning the specifics and applicability of Florida's Stand Your Ground law to certain situations.
"It seems to be this particular Stand Your Ground law is depending on who you know in the system or maybe if you have a substantial amount of money, and we just don't want to say it's about race," says Linda Dayson, founder and executive director of Hurting Families with Children in Crime, Inc.
Alexander was originally scheduled to be sentenced Monday but a judge delayed that hearing. Instead, Judge James H. Daniel scheduled a Thursday hearing for 8:30 a.m. during which he will listen to a motion from the defense to have the trial dismissed. Judge Daniel said if the motion is denied, sentencing for Alexander could come as early as Thursday.
A group of people was planning to hold another prayer vigil for Alexander Monday night at 6 p.m. outside the Duval County Courthouse.