Stand Your Ground Domestic Abuse Case of Marissa Danielle Alexander

"North Hampton is a Domestic violence fre...

“North Hampton is a Domestic violence free-zone” (Massachussetts) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marissa Danielle Alexander, 31, was charged with aggravated  assault in August 2010 after she fired a single shot into the ceiling of her  home during a domestic violence dispute. She claimed self-defense against an  abusive husband under the state’s Stand Your Ground law. A judge denied her immunity in a Stand Your Ground hearing and after a jury  found her guilty, she faces 20 years in prison.

Alexander’s husband, Rico Gray, 36, was arrested both in 2006 and 2009 on charges of domestic battery. Charges were dropped in one case and he  was given probation in the other. Alexander had an injunction for protection  against domestic violence against Gray following his latest arrest.

Several months later, Alexander was arrested on the domestic  battery charge involving her husband. She has maintained that Gray was the aggressor, becoming  enraged when she told him she was leaving him. “He assaulted me, shoving, straggling and holding me against my will,  preventing me from fleeing all while I begged him to leave,” Alexander wrote in  a blog posted by her first husband on a website set up in support of her.

In the post, Alexander wrote the attack began while she was using  the restroom. She said she made it to the garage but couldn’t leave when she realized she didn’t have her keys and the garage door was  not working. She said she then grabbed her gun, for which she said she has a concealed  weapons permit, with her fear heightened by her husband’s history of abusing  women, including her. She said she went back inside the kitchen where her husband threatened her life. “I was terrified from the first encounter and feared he came to do as he  threatened,” she wrote. That’s when she said Gray “charged” at her. “In fear and a desperate attempt, I lifted my weapon up, turned away and  discharged a single shot in the wall up the ceiling.”

Alexander wrote that the law states that she had no duty to retreat, but a jury found her guilty as charged March 16. Lincoln Alexander, who is  Alexander’s first husband of eight years, has been involved with the case from the beginning. Alexander said he has witnessed signs of abuse and described Alexander’s accounts of the multiple beatings  she took from Gray, including one that left her with a black eye when she was  eight months pregnant. According to Alexander, his ex-wife was also hospitalized for her injuries the night of her domestic battery arrest. He said he had never had any domestic issues in his marriage with  her.

This Florida mother who tried to defend herself from an abusive husband is facing 20 years in jail, despite the state’s now-famous ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. In a 2010 deposition, Gray admitted to “four or five” previous incidents of domestic violence involving Alexander.  Describing one of those incidents, which resulted in Alexander going to the hospital, he said, “We was staying together and I pushed her back and she fell in the bathtub and hit her head.” An ex-partner of Gary’s, Chartrissia Anderson, who has a 9-year-old daughter with him, has also come forward to describe the violence she suffered at Gray’s hands.

This is how Alexander –- who had just given birth nine days before the incident — described being shoved, strangled and held against her will on that August 2010 night, per the blog set up by her first husband, Lincoln Alexander, on her behalf:

He and my two stepsons were supposed to be exiting the house thru the front door, but he didn’t leave.  Instead he came into the kitchen that leads to the garage and realized I was unable to leave. Instead of leaving thru the front door where his vehicle was parked outside of the garage, he came into the kitchen by himself. I was terrified from the first encounter and feared he came to do as he had threatened. The weapon was in my right hand down by my side and he yelled, “B*** I will kill you!”, and charged toward me. In fear and desperate attempt, I lifted my weapon up, turned away and discharged a single shot in the wall up in the ceiling.  As I stood my ground it prevented him from doing what he threatened and he ran out of the home.  Outside of the home, he contacted the police and falsely reported that I shot at him and his sons [from a previous relationship]. The police arrived and I was taken into custody.

“I believe when he threatened to kill me, that’s what he was absolutely going to do. That’s what he intended to do. Had I not discharged my weapon at that point, I would not be here.” Four months after her arrest, a judge rejected Alexander’s attempt to seek immunity under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, saying that she could have escaped her husband “through the front or back door.” In March, a jury took just 12 minutes to return a guilty verdict against Alexander for three counts of aggravated assault. Last week a judge denied Alexander’s request for a new trial; she is set to be sentenced on May 11 where under Florida mandatory sentencing law, she faces a 20 year sentence.

So why doesn’t the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law apply to her?Instead, argued Melissa Harris-Perry on Sunday, “this is the rule of what occurs for women and for men who are in situations of domestic violence” — that the law will not protect them if they defend themselves from abusers. She spoke to Brooklyn Law School professor Liz Schneider, who said:

“I’m a lawyer and a law professor and since the 1970s. I’ve worked on cases and written about problems of cases involving self-defense, involving battered women that either kill or assault, and these are terrible cases. And there are cases in which women often serve a very long period of time. They are convicted by juries or sent to prison for long terms by judges.”

“The kinds of understandings that judges and juries bring show a lack of understanding of the history of abuse, a lack of sensitivity to women who have experienced abuse, and a sense that these women cannot be reasonable, which is a critical facet of what the self-defense laws require. And so you see [cases like Alexander’s] not only I want to say sadly in this country, but I’ve also worked on cases around the globe, you see this around the world.”

Harris-Perry asked Kim Dadou, a domestic violence survivor who served 17 years in a New York state prison for shooting her abusive boyfriend to death — and is now with the Correctional Association of New York, fighting for a new bill to help incarcerated survivors of domestic violence — “why is the victim blamed in a domestic violence situation?”

“It’s bullying within the home,” Dadou said. “There’s a big outcry against bullying, but that’s what domestic violence is. [People ask] ‘why didn’t you leave?’ I was reading on Marissa’s case and it says that they said she should have left through the front door or through the back door and not the garage.”

“Well, you know what? I say to those people, I am so glad you’ve never known that kind of fear that paralyzes you, or that kind of fear or that kind of danger that prevents you from going out the front door or the back door, and you’re trapped within your own home. and how — how can you blame the victim?”

“You don’t blame a rape victim for being raped because she had on tight jeans. Why do you blame a domestic violence victim for staying in her own home? You’re re-victimizing the victim.”

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About mamaheartfilled

I am a mother of eight wonderfully challenging children and nine grandkids, of whom I am very proud. I am also a bi-vocational ordained evangelical minister, and a Christian Counselor. I received my B.S. degree in 2004, studying primarily in the areas of Psychology, with minors in Religion and English. I received my Masters Degree in 2009 in Psychological Counseling with an emphasis in Christian Counseling. I have endeavored to paraphrase the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, for the last ten years or so and am working on a final edit, now. It is my hope that it will be of some use in the great commission of Christ. My ministry is primarily geared toward victims of sexual and domestic violence, including victims of childhood sexual abuse, whether currently or in the past. Since I have personally experienced the healing hand of God in overcoming many of the life issues that Christians may face, I feel qualified and compelled to discuss them in a truthful and open manner, as God’s word tells us that “We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.” God has brought me through such diverse tribulations as sexual, physical, and mental abuse, being a victim of a drunk driving accident, spousal pornography addiction, adultery, divorce, remarriage, a very brief, though unjust, incarceration, and having experienced multiple miscarriages and various other trials. I have been asked to leave two Southern Baptist Churches, due to my being a female, ordained as a minister, and fired from a SBC sponsored Christian School (mostly white) for speaking out against racial prejudice in the Family of God. Through God’s merciful forgiveness of my own sins and inadequacies and God’s grace given to me to forgive those who have been a stumbling block to me, I have overcome many of these adversities. God’s word tells us that “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to the purposes of God." Since I have this hope, I believe that God has blessed me with the ability to confront and relate these issues to the Christian community around the world. I hope to be able to use my personal experiences as a ministry of God’s grace and in the comforting of the people of God with the truth of God's mercy. I claim II Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 as my calling, which states: “Blessed be God, the Origin of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Origin of mercies, and the God of comfort; who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, by the comfort we ourselves have been given by God.” As I have received the gift of God’s healing, I hope to be able to bring the peace beyond understanding to others with the message of God’s mercy and grace. My love for the Sovereign Lord of my life, Jesus Christ, along with my passion for writing has drawn me to explore these commonly experienced crisis issues from the perspective of my own experience in the hope that I may bring an empathetic and compassionate insight to God’s people. I am now a published author and have several books in publication, including my autobiography, "A Little Redneck Theology." The views expressed in my writings are strictly my own insights, acquired from personal experience and diligent study of the related topics and God’s word concerning them. Though I am an ordained minister, my views should not be considered authoritative. I believe that the Christian community’s ultimate authority is the guidance of the human heart by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
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2 Responses to Stand Your Ground Domestic Abuse Case of Marissa Danielle Alexander

  1. Pingback: Salon and Cosmetology Professionals Help Victims of Domestic Abuse |

  2. Pingback: Stand Your Ground Double Standard in Florida « OverBored

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