Tallahassee Woman Gets 20 Years for Firing Warning Shot

Tallahassee Woman Gets 20 Years for Firing Warning Shot

How far would you go to protect yourself if you felt you were in danger?

Marissa Alexander of Tallahassee, Florida was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a warning shot at her estranged husband. The shot that was fired hit the wall and then ricocheted and hit the ceiling. How does firing a warning shot turn into 20 years in prison? Today, we are going to take a deeper look into this case.

The Night of the Warning Shot

The night that all of this happened in 2010, Alexander had gone back to their home after having left. She had already filed for a PPO, but the couple had only just had a baby together 9 days earlier. According to reports, Alexander went back to the home to pick up her belongings.

It wasn’t long before there was a confrontation at the home. Alexander then left the home and took a gun from her car. Taking the gun with her, Alexander went back into the home. She then fired a warning shot at the wall.

The Defense

Alexander denied a plea deal that would have only allowed for 3 year prison sentence. Instead she took her chances in court. Her self-defense claim didn’t make it far with the judge and jury because she was able to leave the home to retrieve the gun from her car.

The Prosecution

Rico Gray, Alexander’s husband reported that she was the aggressor and closed her eyes before firing the gun at him. Four months after the shooting, Alexander was charged with domestic battery. She was sentence to time served after pleading no contest.

The Appeal

The jury ended up siding with the prosecution and because of Florida’s “10-20-life” law Alexander was given 20 years in prison.

However, the now 33-year-old Alexander was granted an appeal and a new trial and the Huffington Post reported on why,

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Alexander deserves a new trial because the trial judge handling her case did not properly instruct the jury regarding what is needed to prove self-defense. The ruling, written by Judge Robert Benton, said the instructions constituted a “fundamental error” and required Alexander to prove self-defense “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

So, what do you think? Was it self-defense?