After serving three years in jail, 34-year-old Marissa Alexander went home yesterday and is now on house arrest. A judge denied the prosecutor’s request for an additional two-year sentence in the case of the Florida mother who in 2010, and nine days after giving birth, fired a gun near her abusive husband and allegedly his children. Alexander subsequently used Florida’s "stand your ground" law as her defense. No one was injured but a jury, MSNBC reports, convicted her in 12 minutes. Alexander was initially sentenced to Florida’s minimum, 20 years, and could’ve faced 60 years in prison. The outcome for Alexander, an African-American woman, provided a stark contrast to that of George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic male, who in a 2013 trial also used the "stand your ground" law in, ultimately, a successful defense in the killing of unarmed 17-year-old African-American, Trayvon Martin. Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" law, passed in 2005, has been widely criticized for excusing vigilantiism and uneven application but it remains on the books.
Alexander read a prepared statement as she left the Duval County courthouse yesterday. It said in part:
"Today, after the sentence given by Judge Daniel, my family and I will be able to move on with our lives. Although the journey has been long and there’s been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here, where I am today, without the thoughts, many thoughts and many prayers of so many people who voiced their support and encouragement. Words can never express my gratitude for those who stood beside me, including my children and family. I am also grateful that Judge Daniel approached this case with such care and diligence."
Alexander’s estranged husband, Rico Gray, according to First Coast News, "said he is happy that the case is over and that everyone can move forward — especially the children. [He] is happy that she has finally accepted responsibility [but] has concerns about whether she is really remorseful."
For the next two years Alexander will be monitored by ankle bracelet. Supporters, according to News4Jax, have raised money to cover the associated fees and local pastors are offering a job in one of their ministries.