Another Florida case shines light on 'stand your ground' - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Another Florida case shines light on 'stand your ground'

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A mother of three is looking at spending at least the next 20 years in prison for what she describes as "standing her ground."

It's a case that's just starting to make national news -- given the similarities to the Trayvon Martin case.

How are the two cases similar? Marissa Alexander's family claims that she was protecting and defending herself on her own property.

Alexander, 31, who is a licensed weapons holder, says she took a stand against her abusive husband at their home 2 years ago and now she's being punished.

Her father, Raoul Jenkins, who lives in Columbia, says he didn't know half of what was going on with his oldest daughter in Jacksonville, Florida until she went on trial for her life.

"She told me why she did not tell me or her brother, which is my oldest son here in Columbia, because we would have went down there," Jenkins said.

According to court documents, Alexander's husband, Rico Gray, had a history of domestic violence toward her and other women. They were married in mid-May. Jenkins says he went down in June to get her to move out.

"I told her at that time, 'Marissa, if I'm coming down there, this is it, you make sure you press charges because he has no business -- no man should hit a woman. Make sure you press charges because I'm not going to run back and forth to Jacksonville because you're going back to him. I don't want that to happen,'" Jenkins said.

Unbeknownst to him, Alexander says the abuse continued. In August 2010, another incident happened. This time, fearing for her life, she got her gun from her glove compartment and fired a warning shot in her ceiling. No one was hurt, but she was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

"When you're the abuser and you turn around and make the victim the bad guy and when the system allows that to happen, that's a sad story," Jenkins said.

Alexander's stepmother, Karen Jenkins, says she doesn't know why stand your ground is not a valid defense.

"If [George] Zimmerman, who killed someone -– an unarmed innocent child -– and was given that right, why couldn't someone that had documented in the system, been abused, said she was fearful of her life, why was she denied that right?" Karen said.

A judge said Alexander had other options and could have escaped out of a window or front door and she did not have to fire that shot.

"The whole family was devastated," Karen said.

Alexander had a protection order out against her husband that was active at the time of incident. She was supposed to be sentenced Monday for the aggravated assault charges, but the judge delayed it since her attorney has filed motions for a new trial.

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SIDEBAR Marissa Alexander documents

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Click here to read the deposition in the Marissa Alexander case.

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