Marissa Alexander, the woman whose case threw a national spotlight on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, was met by more than 50 supporters, family and community members as she left a Duval County, Florida courthouse on January 27th.
Sentenced in 2010 to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot to frighten her abusive ex-husband, Alexander won a new trial that had been set to begin in December of last year.
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, who (infamously) prosecuted both Alexander and George Zimmerman, was seeking a sentence of 60 years in prison for the 34-year old mother of three when Alexander’s defense team opted for a plea deal last November. Alexander received a sentence of three years in jail and but was given credit for time served dating back to her original arrest.
The deal added an additional 65 days in jail to her sentence which ended Tuesday, as well as two years of probation to be served under home detention.
In a press release from the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign, Alexander said “Although the journey has been long and there’s been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here, where I am today, without the thoughts, many thoughts and many prayers of so many people who voiced their support and encouragement.”
Alexander will have to wear a GPS ankle monitor during her probation period. The fees for the monitor – $105 per week which comes out to just under $11K for the next two years – were raised by supporters in a crowdsourcing campaign.
“We assumed that she would have to be on house arrest [once she was released],” said Mariame Kaba, an anti-prison activist who works with the Chicago Mobilization to Free Marissa Alexander. “And because she has no job [and] clearly you need money to pay for you own incarceration, we wanted to relieve part of that burden for her when she was released,” Kaba said.
Alexander will only be able to leave her home for employment, church, medical/dental and family activities, such as visiting her children’s schools. She must get permission from a judge to travel any anywhere else.
Supporters of Alexander maintain that although it is a victory that she has been released and is able to be reunited with her family, she has still suffered an injustice.
“I’ve been an advocate for victims of domestic violence for 30 years,” said Summayya Coleman, a member of the Free Marissa Alexander Mobilization who traveled from Washington, DC to greet Alexander outside the Duval County courthouse.
“This was a huge injustice to [Marissa and her family] as she was never seen as a victim of domestic violence; she was always seen as a criminal who was tried under Florida’s mandatory sentencing law.”
Alexander has has asked her supporters to use her case to bring more attention to women in similar circumstances.
While she says she looks forward to the “full-time challenge of getting my two teenagers through high school and into college, as well we preparing my 4-year-old daughter for nursery school,” Alexander wants to further her education and become a paralegal.
“At the age of 34, life is too short and there’s too much I have to accomplish in the years ahead,” she said.