Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law

A Florida woman is facing 20 years in prison for standing her ground.  Marissa Alexander is a 31 year old mother of three.   Her husband, Rico Gray, had been arrested twice for domestic battery.  One of the violent attacks sent Alexander to the hospital.  After that, Alexander obtained a protective order against Gray.  That order was still in effect on August 1, 2010, when Gray flew into a violent rage.  What caused such rage?  Alexander had sent a picture of her newborn daughter to her first husband.

Gray has told prosecutors that he has five baby mamas and he has abused them all.  He said “they had to walk on eggshells around me”.  He said he “punched women in the face, shoved them and choked them.”

Alexander was in her bathroom when Gray went into his jealous rage and tried to force his way in.  He is seven inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than Alexander.

When she managed to get by him, she panicked and ran into the garage, forgetting her car keys.  She couldn’t escape from the garage because the door wasn’t working.  So she grabbed her gun from her car and headed back into the kitchen, where Gray confronted her again.

Gray admitted he was “going towards her” when she fired one shot that was high and to his right.  At that point, he left with his two sons.

Gray admits that if his sons hadn’t been in the house, he probably would have taken the gun from her and “put my hands on her.”

The judge in the case has ruled that the “stand your ground” law doesn’t apply because Alexander could have escaped through the front or back door instead of going to the garage.

I don’t imagine that judge has ever been in a situation where she feared for her life, at the hands of a man who had previously beaten her to the point of being hospitalized.  It’s easy in those moments, to panic.  She blindly got away from him, without the forethought to go through the front or back door.  Or maybe she had forethought to get to the car and get her gun.  In that case, she was simply “standing her ground.”

Interesting that George Zimmerman wasn’t arrested the night he killed Trayvon Martin, but Marissa Alexander was arrested, charged and faces 20 years in prison for defending herself.  In a case where no one was hurt.  Apparently “stand your ground” doesn’t apply to black women in Florida.


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