Last weekend, Melissa examined the case against Marissa Alexander, the Jacksonville mother of three who fired a single bullet into her kitchen ceiling two years ago to warn her husband, Rico Gray, against continuing his physical attack on her. Gray, who reacted in violent anger after discovering that Alexander texted pictures of their newborn child to her ex-husband, spoke out earlier this week in an interview with TheLoop21:
“Personally, I wish she would have taken the three years,” Gray said. “I don’t wish 20 years on no one.”
He's referring to the plea deal that Alexander reportedly turned down, a deal that took into account Gray's history of violence. Alexander presumably cast that deal aside because she genuinely believed that she was standing her ground -- both figuratively, and legally. But Florida's "Stand Your Ground" castle-doctrine law somehow didn't apply to her, despite the fact that her case appears to fit the statute to a T.
She was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault in a matter of minutes -- and today, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison, a sentence she will appeal:
The jury found that she had indeed discharged the firearm in the incident, resulting in her mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years due to Florida's “10-20-Life” statutes...
Afterward U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown also challenged State Attorney [Angela] Corey at the courthouse saying the charges were overboard and labeled the case "institutional racism." She said she has the best domestic violence attorney looking into and as well as other prejudicial outcomes against blacks. This is the beginning, not the end, she said.
Corey was firm in the punishment, noting Alexander's gunshot easily could have ricocheted and hit the children or husband.
Corey, as you may recall, is the same Florida prosecutor who filed charges against George Zimmerman, who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to death in February. (Interesting that "Stand Your Ground" may very well be the defense she and her colleagues face from Zimmerman's attorneys.) Sunday being Mother's Day, Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, has released a stirring video urging Americans to join the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign, which folks like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have joined hoping to drive lawmakers to re-examine laws like "Stand Your Ground."
For those who are unable to watch the video, her message begins, “This will be my first Mother’s Day without my son, Trayvon. I know it will be hard, but with my faith, family, and the outpouring of national support, I will get through." We'll have much more on this on Sunday's show.
Fulton's interview with NPR is just one of our daily reads. Click below the jump to see what else is on our radar today.
- Republicans are really stretching to make something the President said yesterday into a big deal.
- Feministing on the mishandling of sexual assault cases in Montana.
- Bristol Palin goes after the President's kids.
- Why the big Romney story on Mitt Romney's prep-school bullying yesterday is fair game. (More on this later today on this blog.)
- Border patrol agents are being accused of "widespread abuse" on the Mexican border.
- Is the President's SuperPAC in trouble?
- Sady Doyle on The Avengers' successful representation of, and appeal to, women.
- Lastly, Melissa's segments about Marissa Alexander and incarcerated women are below. Again, we'll have much more on this on Sunday.
Melissa Harris-Perry investigates problems with "Stand Your Ground" laws that do not protect women in violent relationships who stand up to their abusers. Elizabeth Schneider, Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, Nona Willis Aronowitz of GOOD magazine, and Kim Dadou, a survivor of domestic violence who was found guilty of manslaughter for killing her boyfriend and served 17 years in jail, join to discuss.
Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel talk about domestic violence victim Marissa Alexander who is being charged of 20 years in prison after firing a warning shot into her kitchen ceiling during a confrontation with her abusive husband. Alexander was denied immunity under "Stand Your Ground."