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Angela Corey Reminds FL Legislators of Facts of Marissa Alexander Case

Angela Corey Reminds FL Legislators of Facts of Marissa Alexander Case

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.

Layout of house--tight

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]

Marissa Alexander bullet hole photos closeup

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.

Rico Gray, Marissa Alexander, and their baby, during time protective order in effect

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.

Rico Gray's injuries following beating by Marissa Alexander

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, @LawSelfDefense


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.

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Comments

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm

I have not read the whole transcript, I will probably never read it, but did Corey refer to herself in the third person?

notice this 3chick idiot doesn’t care about the kids that almost took a bullet in the head.

A jury of her peers

That seems an odd phrase for Corey to use. It has no statutory significance in Florida, does it?

I guess that was some argument. Seems they had recently had a child that was still at the hospital. She was showing him pics on her phone. He evidently has the phone and he sees text messages to her old husband Lawrence. Current husband Rico starts questioning if the child is actually his. Kinda makes you want to read those text messages doesn’t it.

Henry Hawkins | March 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Love, exciting and new
Come Aboard. We’re expecting you.
Love, life’s sweetest reward.
Let it flow, it floats back to you.
The Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.
Love won’t hurt anymore
It’s an open smile on a friendly shore.
Yes LOVE! It’s LOVE!
Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.
Love won’t hurt anymore
It’s an open smile on a friendly shore.
It’s LOVE! It’s LOVE! It’s LOVE!
It’s the Love Boat-ah! It’s the Love Boat-ah!

Wow. A lot of people still wish that Martin had murdered Zimmerman, and only because he has the wrong skin color.

Corey is trying to stop legislation aimed at one of her favorite prosecutions: charging people who take warning shots with aggravated assault. She prefers self-defense rules that mandate greater loss of life, perhaps because she doesn’t particularly like self-defense by civilians.

    Lina Inverse in reply to randian. | March 20, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Echoing “tom swift” below, “warning shots” are not a particularly respected concept in the self-defense community. The bullets have to go somewhere, count as “lethal force”, and the general theory is that if you’re justified in using lethal force, i.e. shooting in the first place, it should be real lethal force.

    Sure, if you fire straight up, per Hatcher’s Notebook when the bullets come down they’re not likely to cause serious injury, and firing at the ground is not always going to be dangerous (depends on angle and what the surface is), and there are some cases where it appears that true warning shots prevented having to actually shooting someone, but in general, they’re just not a good idea.

    All that said, having now read these details, I now have doubt about Alexander truly intending to shoot her husband or children, since she fired at a interior wall with the bullet passing into the room in which they were in. If she truly intended to shoot him, one would think she’d shoot straight at him through the archway between the two rooms. But in the context it clearly wasn’t a “warning shot”. Three counts of Aggravated Assault sound right, and I have little trouble locking her up for 60 years, she’s clearly unrepentant and dangerous.

      tom swift in reply to Lina Inverse. | March 20, 2014 at 11:43 am

      “warning shots” are not a particularly respected concept in the self-defense community.

      I wouldn’t say that. Anyone who’s devoted even minimal thought to the problem can easily imagine situations in which they’d be appropriate, and sometimes even ideal. It’s the legal apparatus which has denied their legitimate utility. And while there are reasons for that denial, they seem superficial.

      But, if that’s the way legislatures and courts are inclined, it’s something the rest of us have to work around.

        Lina Inverse in reply to tom swift. | March 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm

        I (obviously) disagree, it’s hard to reconcile Rule 4, “Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.” with them.

        Although I agree the legal system is major part of this, it’s still applying the rule that you own every shot you make.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 20, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        You and I usually see eye to eye on most things, but on this one I have to disagree, for 2 particular reasons.

        1. These days with the world and our country more populated, the days when even a rural farmer can fire a warning shot to scare folks off of his land have passed. There are very few areas left where you can be certain that that warning shot isn’t going to fly somewhere that is populated. So, these days firing a warning shot actually means you just fired an indiscriminate round into the pubic at large.

        2. As for warning shots in self defense, well if you feel like you have time for a warning shot then you aren’t in imminent fear of death or great bodily harm and if you aren’t in imminent fear or death or great bodily harm, you had no reason to fire your weapon in the first place.

        Now in this case it’s pretty easy, even if you don’t take into account the distance she had to walk and the number of doors she had to open, it is still pretty clear this wasn’t self defense.

          ^^^ This ^^^

          Alexander is clearly entitled to a re-trial, because the first trial judge DID screw up her self-defense instruction. The burden of persuasion is NEVER on her, just as it should not be on us.

          So we’ll do it all again. That’s justice.

          On re-trial, however, she STILL won’t have “shot in to the ceiling,” she’ll still have shot into the wall beside her husband’s head while he held his two minor children to him. She’ll still have walked past many doors to exit the house on the way to get the gun. The garage door will still have worked, as it worked for the police afterwards. And she’ll have still been arrested for assaulting her husband while under a restraining order, resulting in her bail being revoked.

          In other words, she’ll STILL be guilty, even WITH correct self-defense instructions.

          Sheesh.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          And even if the ‘garage door didn’t work for her’ (she was so upset, and scared, the poor dear, she couldn’t work it ?), the CAR DOOR still worked, the one she opened to get the gun, that she could have gotten in and closed and locked it, and sat there with the gun in hand if needed.

          Uh uh.

          Gremlin – I agree with your comment and thought it was well presented. I did, however, notice one thing that really made me laugh. Typo’s can be rough. The are the banana peeling of commenting that we all step on when they are not caught by spell check.

          ‘…fired an indiscriminate round into the pubic at large.’

          Sounds like a news report about an accident suffered by someone who carries their unholstered weapon tucked in their waistband on their belly because it looks cool.

          Lina Inverse in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 21, 2014 at 8:00 am

          pjm: Tactically, if there was any chance her purported assailant was armed with a gun, getting inside the vehicle could be a poor choice, better to get on the other side of the it, that much metal will provide pretty good cover and per her testimony about the big garage door being broken she only had one entrance to guard against.

          Either way, we’re saying returning to the confrontation after getting her gun doesn’t support innocence.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

          @Baker

          LOL, oh well, thanks for letting me know, but no edit button, so oh well.

Consider this here a quote from Richard Pryor on Marisa Alexander.

I am not surprised that it is the defendant’s inability to stay the heck away from her husband while outside of detention that really closed the door on leniency, even if (and I think this is a very large if) Corey was inclined to grant any through a plea bargain. As for Corey having a vendetta: yeah, well, she’s known for such things, but Alexander made it easy for Corey and has no leg to stand on.

However, that isn’t to say that the public is not served by legislation that makes actual warning shots legal. Establishing that what Alexander did was not a warning shot, more of a terrorize shot, sets it apart from what you’d think would be covered by a properly written law about warning shots.

    Lina Inverse in reply to JBourque. | March 20, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I am not surprised that it is the defendant’s inability to stay the heck away from her husband….

    Let me extend that: staying away from her husband and not assaulting him (again). I suspect it’s the further assault that properly put this over the top.

if you have to duck to avoid the warning shot from blowing your kids head off….its not a warning shot.

    tom swift in reply to dmacleo. | March 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I have no objection to the sentiment, but it doesn’t really have much to do with this case. So far as I can tell from the diagram and the photo, the bullet was never closer than six or eight feet from Gray or the children.

    Another logical problem is that we don’t really want an action by the putative target to determine the intention of the shooter. If Alexander really was firing what she considered a “warning shot” (which I don’t believe, but that’s not the point), then no attempt at evasion by Gray would alter her intention.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 20, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Frankly, I don’t care how far away it was, she fired blind through a wall in the general direction of her own freaking children, I mean come on Tom.

What is the purpose of a warning shot?

It’s to alert your opponent that you have a gun, that it’s operational, it’s loaded (unless it’s a single-shot, in which case it’s unloaded), that you know how to fire it, and that you will fire it.

In this case, Mr Gray’s reaction seemed to be that of someone already aware of all these things. So a warning shot would provide no addition information, and was completely superfluous as a warning. And that makes it more likely that it was intended as an actual deadly attack.

It’s not much, but it’s probably more than we can extract from “I’ve got something for your ass.”

What ever happened to trying the facts *in court* where the defense can argue them? Does Florida not do that any more?

    Lina Inverse in reply to snopercod. | March 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

    It’s usually the job of a jury to find facts, and Corey’s in part basing this on the fact that a jury did indeed come to a judgement.

    That said, isn’t this is the woman who said, after a jury acquitted Zimmerman, that he was a murderer or the like?

    “What ever happened to trying the facts *in court* where the defense can argue them? Does Florida not do that any more?”

    Um, the facts were tried in court. Missed that, did you?

      tom swift in reply to Amy in FL. | March 20, 2014 at 11:33 am

      well, there was indeed a trial, and a jury decision to convict. But there was also a problem with the judge’s instructions to the jury. So, strictly speaking, we don’t know what the jury decision would have been if the jury had been given the proper instructions.

        platypus in reply to tom swift. | March 21, 2014 at 3:37 am

        Thank you for your comments. I was getting pretty lonely in my belief that this case is not a slam dunk but that her history is being used by Corey to put it over the top.

        Even if Corey is on the right side this time, it doesn’t change the reality of her vendetta against GZ. She’s irredeemable because of that. This case might be one of her “broken clock” moments.

        Snopercod asked:

        “What ever happened to trying the facts *in court* where the defense can argue them? Does Florida not do that any more?”

        I replied:

        “Um, the facts were tried in court.”

        The facts were indeed presented in court where the defense could (and did) argue them. That there was an error with the jury instructions after all of the facts and arguments of both the defense and the prosecution were put out there in open court does not change the fact that all of the facts and arguments of both the defense and the prosecution were put out there in open court.

        The facts of the case as presented in that trial are going to be the same facts presented in any retrial. The error in the jury instructions did not change one single fact which was presented as evidence by the prosecution in the first trial and then argued against by the defense in the first trial.

        The claim that in this case in particular, and in Florida in general, “trying the facts *in court* where the defense can argue them” is something that just doesn’t happen, is incorrect.

I see the random Mad Thumbdownbot is active again. Well, isn’t that special?

Maybe that feature should go. It’s long past the point of outright silliness.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to tom swift. | March 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    So, you have no problem with upthumbs you might get, but downthumbs are wrong? Please answer four questions:

    How do you know those who downthumb you do so randomly?

    How do you know those who downthumb you are mad?

    How do you know those who downthumb you are bots?

    How do you know downthumbing you is silly?

      tom swift in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Ah, late to the party, and you’ll straighten everyone out. How wonderful.

      Unfortunately, your reading skills are not up to the task, as your questions obviously have nothing at all to do with my post. An observant person would have noted a large number of “down” thumbs suddenly appearing on this page. But I never claimed the honor of being the target, as they weren’t on my posts.

      The Mad Thumbdownbot is a reference to previous posts on other pages about this. To clue you in – when factual or otherwise non-controversial posts get a thumbs down, a reflective person might well wonder what the hell’s going on. Perhaps you can provide enlightenment on that score.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to tom swift. | March 20, 2014 at 3:12 pm

        You, specifically ‘tom swift’, have 17 of the 27 downthumbs on this thread alone. Leaving aside comical assessments as to who is and isn’t observant, I’ll ask again the questions you appear, by needs, to be dodging, with a small edit to help you out:

        How do you know those who downthumb you or anyone else do so randomly?

        How do you know those who downthumb you or anyone else are mad?

        How do you know those who downthumb you or anyone else are bots?

        How do you know downthumbing you or anyone else is silly?

          platypus in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 21, 2014 at 3:42 am

          Well, it’s only fair that you get an equal number of downthumbs to your upthumbs. Anyway, please be nice to tom swift because he’s on my good list on this thread.

          If we all lived in a dormitory, how many of us do you suppose would get short-sheeted on a regular basis?

          I would short sheet anyone who ran around waving his hands in the air wailing “MOOOOOMMMMMMMY! SOME MEAN KID GIB ME A MEAN NASTY *THUMB DOWN* …… MOMMMMMMMY *DO SOMFING* !!!!!!!!!”

          Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 21, 2014 at 11:19 am

          Sorry, plat, can’t abide a chronic hypocrite. [email protected]

          Re: Up/Down thumbs, I feel I’m in the zone if I get at least 3 ups and 1 down.

Alexander needs to adopt a faux-islamic name, and begin a correspondence with Danny Glover.

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