New trial for woman who received 20 years for firing warning shot

Marissa Alexander
Marissa Alexander

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The family of a Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for what she describes as "standing her ground," says an appeals court has granted her a new trial.

Florida's 1st District Court of Appeals issued the ruling Thursday morning, saying 31-year-old Marissa Alexander was not given a proper trial because of the "fundamentally erroneous jury instructions pertaining to the issue self-defense."

Her father, Raoul Jenkins, who lives in Columbia, confirmed the court's ruling.

Alexander's lawyers argued the controversial "stand your ground" law in this case, but the judge said Alexander had other options and could have escaped out of a window or front door instead of what happened.

Alexander, who is a licensed weapons holder, says she took a stand against her abusive husband at their home 2 years ago.

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 and had a child together.

In August 2010, court documents say Alexander got her gun from her glove compartment and fired a warning shot in her ceiling following one particular abuse incident. No one was hurt, but she was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

Alexander had a protection order out against Gray before the incident.

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