Marissa Alexander Takes Plea Deal

Nov 24, 2014

The Jacksonville mother once sentenced to 20 years for shooting into a wall will now serve 65 days in county jail and two years under house arrest under a new plea agreement. 

Credit News4Jax

Marissa Alexander agreed to take a plea deal Monday afternoon. 

She pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and because she has already served time, she'll only spend 65 more days behind bars.

The charges stem from a confrontation with her husband in 2010. Alexander claimed she fired the shot in self-defense against Rico Gray who had reportedly abused her. But Gray said she fired the shot in his direction even as he was attempting to leave with his two children. In 2012, a jury convicted Alexander and she was sentenced to 20 years under the state’s 10-20-Life law. Under the new agreement, the sentence is dropped to three years, with credit for the 1030 days already served. However, on Alexander's second charge of aggravated assault, the judge still reserves the power to impose up to five years in prison during sentencing. Following her jailhouse sentence, Alexander will serve the next two years under house arrest being allowed to leave for work, church, school matters, and doctor's appointments. The charges will remain on Alexander's record. She has no prior convictions. During the hearing, Alexander said she is prepared to serve the time immediately. 

Alexander's defense attorneys said in a statement that Alexander made the decision to accept the deal in order to avoid putting her children through "the rigors of the highly publicized retrial."

"This is four and a half years that her family has had to endure all sorts of access of this case," Attorney Bruce Zimet said. The initially little-known case gained national traction in the wake the acquittal of George Zimmerman, charged in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. In both cases, defendant's Alexander and Zimmerman claimed they used force in self-defense. For some, the conviction of Alexander, who is black, and acquittal of Zimmerman who is white and Hispanic, signaled a bias within the justice system.

Monday, Zimet said Alexander was eager to move on.

"She was at peace with her decision, at piece with going through the process and getting the entire case behind her."

Circuit Judge James Daniel is scheduled to hand down Alexander's official sentence Jan. 27. 

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson