Since news of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s slaying spread across the media, one thing that many have focused on has been Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows those confronted by violence and fearing for their life to take potentially deadly action to protect themselves. Because of this law, Sanford police failed to arrest George Zimmerman, the man who admitted to killing Martin, because he claimed he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.
But while the conversation around Stand Your Ground laws have centered on them being an unfair license to kill, what happens when a person actually stands their ground to protect their life?
For Marissa Alexander, standing her ground has jeopardized her freedom, as the mom of three faces 20 years in prison for protecting herself.
Nearly two years ago, Alexander had just given birth to a newborn baby when she found herself in a violent confrontation with her estranged husband. According to Alexander, her husband had a history of domestic violence and at the time of the confrontation, she had an injunction of protection against him.
On a blog supportting Alexander’s cause, she explains:
In an unprovoked jealous rage, my husband violently confronted me while using the restroom. He assaulted me, shoving, strangling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while I begged for him to leave. After a minute or two of trying to escape, I was able to make it to the garage where my truck was parked, but in my haste to leave I realized my keys were missing. I tried to open the garage but there was a mechanical failure. I was unable to leave, trapped in the dark with no way out. For protection against further assault I retrieved my weapon; which is registered and I have a concealed weapon permit. Trapped, no phone, I entered back into my home to either leave through another exit or obtain my cell phone.
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, “Bitch 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.
Unfortunately for Alexander, her husband called the police and accused her of shooting at him and his sons, and she was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with no intent to harm, which can carry a 20-year sentence in prison.
Despite her well-documented abuse claims, and her husband’s admission that he was the aggressor, a judge dismissed Alexander’s motion to receive immunity under Florida’s Stand Your Ground statue and she is currently awaiting trial.
Alexander says that she is a “law abiding citizen” and just wants to tell her story in the hopes of bringing attention to her case.
“A step further and more importantly is in light of recent news, is justice for all include everyone, regardless of gender, race or aristocratic dichotomies,” she explains. ” I simply want my story heard, reviewed and the egregious way in which my case was handled from start to finish serve as an eye opener for all and especially those responsible for upholding judicial affairs.”
Find out more about Marissa Alexander’s story on the Justice for Marissa blog.