Marissa Alexander Supporters Howl as “Warning Shot” Narrative Destroyed
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey today sent an email to Florida legislators for the stated purpose of informing them of the facts of the Marissa Alexander “warning shot” case in case they are asked about it by constituents. The email includes an attachment that outlines the facts of the case, all quite devastating to Alexander’s claims of innocence. Corey’s transmission of this email has been reported by numerous news outlets, including the Florida Times-Union newspaper.
None of the facts contained in Corey’s email should be unfamiliar to loyal Legal Insurrection readers, but it’s always interesting to hear them from the Prosecutor’s “mouth,” so to speak. Also, some of the included content — such as the layout of the house, the 911 calls, and photos of Rico Gray’s injuries — have not previously been available to us to report, and are embedded below.
Alexander’s supporters, who only a couple of weeks ago were calling for Corey’s resignation over her handling of the Alexander case (see NOW calls for Angela Corey to resign over Marissa Alexander case), are fairly howling in outrage in the face of this factual disclosure.
Corey’s email attachment, which is provided in its original form at the bottom of this post, has a variety of links to pieces of evidence. The attachment is so brief it hardly bears summarizing, but I thought it might be illuminating to actually embed the contents of those links in a fuller version of the document. So, here we go:
STATE OF FLORIDA VS. MARISSA ALEXANDER
Marissa Alexander to her husband: “I’ve got something for your ass.”
The FACTS :
In August 2010, Marissa Alexander was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) after she shot at her husband and two step-children (ages 10 and 13) in the couple’s Jacksonville home. It has been erroneously reported that Alexander fired a warning shot into the ceiling in order to escape her abusive husband. That information is inaccurate. The facts of this case, from the actual trial testimony, are as follows: Alexander and her then-husband, Rico Gray, were living together in their home. The two had a verbal argument over text messages Gray found on his wife’s phone. The messages were to and from Alexander’s ex-husband, Lincoln Alexander. The verbal argument started in the couple’s bathroom and moved to the living room. Gray decided to leave the home during the verbal argument and told his children to put on their shoes and that it was time to go.
In the process of Gray leaving the home, Alexander told her husband, “I’ve got something for your ass” and left the living room. Ms. Alexander then walked through the kitchen, through the laundry room, and then into the garage, where she retrieved her 9mm handgun from the glove compartment of her car. Ms. Alexander had ample time and opportunity to leave the home. (Rico Gray never left the living room area where he and his sons were about to exit via the front door.) Alexander then walked back through the laundry room and into the kitchen. When Gray saw her put a round in the chamber, he yelled “no” and tried to scoop his two boys under his arm to protect them, at which time she fired a shot into the wall, at head level – 5’8”, where Gray and his two sons were still standing. The bullet passed through the kitchen wall – bullet hole photo – exited the other side, and then entered the ceiling of the living room. Gray and his two sons then ran for their lives from their home and called 911 – Aug. 2010 call. Alexander then locked herself inside the home. [NOTE: I have enlarged bullet hole photo–the bullet hole can be seen directly in middle of photograph, at head height. — AFB]
JSO SWAT officers were called and eventually convinced Alexander to come out of the house. Alexander was arrested for Aggravated Assault (3 counts). The presiding circuit judge later released her on bond with the condition that she have absolutely NO contact with the victim. While Alexander was out on bond, she and Gray decided to get back together – photos from the fall of 2010. Gray was deposed during this time and created a story that he would have beaten Alexander that day had his kids not been inside the home. Gray later recanted the story and admitted he made it up because he thought it would keep Alexander out of jail. The State did not know they were actually living together until after the sentencing when Gray produced the above photos.
In December 2010, while out on bail for the shooting, Alexander went to Gray’s new home and beat him in the face – Gray’s injuries and arrest report. Gray called 911 to report the crime – Dec. 2010 call and arrest report. A judge revoked Alexander’s bond because she violated the judge’s order. Alexander pled and was adjudicated guilty of the Domestic Battery she committed against Rico Gray in that case.
As to the shooting case, Alexander then requested a Stand Your Ground (SYG) hearing [actually, a “self-defense immunity hearing] and tried to claim she shot the gun in order to save her life. She claimed she could not leave the home because the garage door was not working. In fact, police checked the garage door and found it to be in normal working order. The victims all testified at the SYG hearing as to the events as they related them on both the 911 call and to the first reporting officer. Ms. Alexander testified at the SYG hearing – the judge did not find her version to be the truth. The judge denied Ms. Alexander her immunity, finding that she shot in anger rather than fear – judge’s order.
At the request of defense attorney Kevin Cobbin, State Attorney Angela Corey then personally sat down and talked with the defendant extensively about her case in order to make a decision about waiving the firearm minimum mandatory and allowing her to plead to lesser time. Mitigation presented indicated that something less than the 20 year minimum mandatory would be possible. However, the cold, hard facts were that Alexander deliberately fired a gun toward Rico and his children and then blatantly violated a judge’s order to stay away from the victim, and incurred a new arrest for injuring Rico Gray during the pendency of the shooting case. Thus, Ms. Alexander was not a viable candidate for probation or community control. Ms. Corey authorized her prosecutors to extend a plea offer of three (3) years in prison. Ms. Alexander turned that offer down and instead, decided to go to trial.
At trial, one of the young victims testified, “I thought I was fixing to die” – trial transcript. Rico Gray also testified how Ms. Alexander, “Put a bullet in the chamber,” while he was standing in the living room – trial transcript. Ms. Alexander testified at the trial too. A judge, different from the judge presiding at the Stand Your Ground hearing, denied two motions for acquittal during the trial. The motions for acquittal were requested after the State’s case and then again after the defense’s case. A jury of her peers – black and white, male and female – convicted Alexander in twelve minutes on three counts of Aggravated Assault with Actual Discharge of a Firearm. Pursuant to Florida’s 10-20-Life law, once Alexander was convicted, her sentence was set at 20 years in prison per count. (The gun minimum mandatory sentences are designed to punish the inherently dangerous act of using and/or discharging the firearm and are not diminished when no injury results. E.g., in a robbery where items are taken at gunpoint and the firearm discharged, but no victim is struck by a bullet.)
As for reports of past abuse between the couple, Gray was arrested in 2009 on a charge of Domestic Battery. The charges were later dropped. It has been reported that Ms. Alexander had a “restraining order” on Mr. Gray at the time of the shooting. The truth is Mr. Gray and Ms. Alexander had a “no violence” court order against each other at the time of the shooting. It was a mutual nonviolence order that did allow contact with each other.
There have been reports that Gray has a “history” of domestic violence. The truth is that Mr. Gray had a 2006 arrest involving another woman. He pled no contest to Domestic Battery and received probation. In 1994, Mr. Gray also pled no contest to Domestic Battery. This incident involved a fight with his brother.
If you have any questions about this case, please submit them to [email protected]
And, as promised, here’s the Corey email attachment as originally sent:
As an example of just how crazy Corey’s email is driving Alexander supporters, I present for your viewing pleasure this comment quote from someone who self-identifies as “SouthernGirl2” and writes for a blog called SouthernGirl2, Ametia, and Rikyrah:
I loathe this hateful witch. Why is she doing this? Angela Corey is hellbent on sending Marissa Alexander to prison for 60 years while GZ walks free to taunt Trayvon Martin’s family relentlessly. She clearly has a vendetta against this black woman who dared to stand up for her rights and shine the light on Corey’s hateful bias when it comes to the prosecution of black people in Florida.
If anyone cares to look, I’m sure there are an infinite number of examples of similar outrage out there on the internets.
Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.DONATE
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