Merissa Alexander has received a 20 year prison sentence, after her “Stand Your Ground” defense failed. The 31 year old, Master’s Degree holder, and mother of three, has never been in trouble with the law (prior to this incident). After a 2010 incident, in which her husband choked her, she took out a protective order. However, when her habitually abusive husband threatened that, if he can’t have her, no man can have her, a fight broke out. Merissa was confronted by her husband, by the bathroom, when he discovered that she sent pictures of their newborn to her former husband. She was assaulted, shoved, strangled and held against her will. He would not allow her to leave. Merissa ran through her kitchen to the garage, where she discovered that she was without keys, a cellphone and could not exit because of a malfunctioning, garage door. When her husband found Merissa trying to leave out of the malfunctioning garage door, he yelled “Bitch I will Kill You” and charged toward her. Earlier in the fight, he told Merissa that if he can’t have her, no-one could.  Alexander says that  she was in fear of her life. She fired a warning shot into the air, for which she was arrested.

In a deposition, Rico Gray, Alexander’s husband acknowledged his past abuse of his spouses: “I  got five baby mamas and I put my hand on every last one of them except one…the way I was with women, they was like they had to walk on eggshells around me. You know, they never knew what I was thinking… or what I might do… hit them, push them.”

He also added that “The gun was never pointed at me,” Gray said. “She just didn’t want me to put my hands on her anymore, so she did what she feel like she have to do to make sure she wouldn’t get hurt.”

He has recanted various parts of his story on several occasions. He now paints Merissa as the aggressor. Alexander’s husband acknowledged abusing Merissa on five occasions. In once such incident, his battery of her, sent Merissa to the hospital. Although he initially stated that Alexander never pointed the gun at him he now claims that Merissa pointed the gun at him, while his child was at his side. He now says that he was in fear of his life. Merissa sighted the Stand Your Ground Law, utilized by George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case. Trayvon Martin, was walking home, in the rain, wearing a hoodie while eating skittles and drinking iced tea. Zimmerman, was a self appointed Neighborhood Watchmen. He followed Martin, chased him and confronted the boy. A struggle ensued and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. Zimmerman was subsequently released, with no charges, until protests and public pressure inspired a reconsideration of charges.


Congresswoman Corrine Brown has become engaged in the case. She says that if Stand Your Ground, ever had a purpose, it would have been in cases like, Merissa’s. She says that she can find, no incident in Florida, in which the Stand Your Ground Law has been successfully used by an African American.

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