Marissa Alexander Accepts Plea Deal, Will Likely Be Freed in January

Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman who was facing 60 years in prison for firing a warning shot to scare away Rico Gray, her abusive husband, has accepted a plea bargain, pleading guilty to three charges of aggravated assault with a weapon. The plea means she’ll serve 65 more days in prison and likely be released for good on January 27. But not definitely: one of the counts against her was resolved with an “open” plea, meaning that her lawyers and the prosecution didn’t agree on a sentence. Alexander could still face five years on that charge when she’s sentenced in January.

Alexander was originally convicted in 2012 and sentenced to 20 years, after the jury deliberated for just 13 minutes. That conviction that was overturned after an appeals court found that the judge had improperly instructed the jury that Alexander’s defense team had to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that she was acting in self-defense when she fired the shot. She went to trial again this year, with State Attorney Angela Corey suddenly seeking three times her original sentence. (Social justice groups have since called for Corey to be suspended, pointing out that in the four years she spent trying and re-trying Marissa Alexander, she also failed to convict two men accused of publicly murdering black teenagers, George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn. She also sent more people to death row than any other state attorney in Florida, the majority of whom were black.)

The plea deal Alexander took today also stipulates that she’ll spend two years on probation after her release. And it means that she won’t go back to trial in December, when her defense attorneys had said they planned to call three other women would would testify that Gray also abused them.

Image via AP

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