According to First Coast News, last week, in Jacksonville, Florida, five new witness may turn out to be the best news for Marissa Alexander, and the worst news for her abusive husband, Rico Gray. In 2010, Marissa Alexander fired a shot into the air, to keep her husband from attacking her. Alexander had just given birth only ten days prior, and testified that Gray was in a jealous fury and threatened her life. In 2012, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison, for firing that warning shot and harming no one.
In a sworn deposition, the husband, Rico Gray, said:
“I was in a rage. “I called her a whore and bitch and . . . I told her, you know, I used to always tell her that, if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you. It was not the first time of ever saying it to her.”
Ironically, according to Florida’s ‘Stand You Ground,’ Law if Alexander had killed Gray, she would have most likely gone free. (In states like South Carolina, Think Progress reports, Stand Your Ground doesn’t apply to victims of domestic violence.) First Coast News has extensively covered the Marissa Alexander case, and on October 10th they reported that five new witnesses came forth in a pretrial hearing, and testified against Rico Gray and his violent past:
- Witnesses Thursday included three women with whom Gray has had children, as well as two sisters-in-law. All accused Gray of physically intimidating or brutalizing them.
- One girlfriend, Shartrecia Anderson, testified that Gray was prone to violence. “I know what he’s capable of. He will attack if he’s brought to that point,” she told the court.
- She also asserted that on at least one occasion, Gray stabbed himself with a fork in order to feign injury to police, and instructed his son to lie to officers in order to back up his version of events.
The prosecution is calling Shartrecia Anderson a liar. Anderson denied Gray abused her in a previous testimony. *Keep in mind, many women are afraid of legally accusing their abusers; fearing their abusers will kill them. And that is often the case. According to Gloria Steinem, and verified by PolitiFact:
*More women were killed by their husbands or boyfriends since Sept. 11 than “all the Americans who were killed by 9/11 or in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (Approximately 10,000)
Rico Gray did not take the stand on Thursday, and is due to give his side of the story(s) soon. It’s uncertain whether Judge James Daniels will take the testimonies of these new witness into consideration when ruling on Marissa Alexander’s new trial in December. Florida DA Angela Corey, the prosecuting attorney (and failed attorney in the Zimmerman/Martin trial) offered Alexander a 3-years guilty plea. Alexander felt she was innocent, and after having only three hours to decide, turned down the plea. Angela Cory then slapped Alexander with a 20-year sentence. Twenty years, for hurting no one, yet George Zimmerman walks free after what many call the ‘murder’ of Trayvon Martin. After Alexander spent many months in jail, including time away from her newborn infant, her trial was overturned in September of 2013, reportedly due to jury misinformation. It should be mentioned, the overturn occurred after a very big national protest. Once the original trial was overturned, rather than Angela Corey dropping the case, the District Attorney stated she will seek a 60-year sentence in the new trial. Hard to even type that. It’s disgusting, merciless, unjust, and utterly ridiculous.
Another witness, former Gray wife Dashanna McGriff, alleged a raft of abuses, including being hit with a gun, having her nose broken, and being locked in a closet for hours.
After first seeing a Marissa Alexander headline via Katie Halper/Alternet, I have sworn to continue covering this case until Marissa Alexander is free. I also hope to see a renewed national discourse, not only about victims of domestic violence, but also about those who survive the abuse defending themselves, and are then prosecuted. Many victims of domestic abuse are taken from their children, incarcerated, and left to rot in prison. It’s no wonder so many victims do not report domestic violence. Instead, they often stay in fear, and die horrific deaths. Here are the previous Marissa Alexander articles I’ve written over the last 16 months. There are many more by other diarists on Daily Kos, and you can search those diaries by typing in the name, ‘Marissa Alexander,’ in the upper right search box. Some of the key articles I have written for Liberals Unite are listed below from first, to the most recent, or you can go here for the full list of Marissa Alexander articles.
- Florida Black Woman Gets 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot – White Man Kills And Goes Free
- A Letter From Marissa – The Battered Woman Sentenced To 20 For Firing Warning Shot
- And She Gets 20 Years? Read The Deposition Of Marissa Alexander’s Abusive Husband
- Release Her Now – Argue Later (VIDEO/PETITION) Anderson Cooper Covers Marissa Alexander’s Case
- Chance For Marissa Alexander’s Case To Be Dropped Shot Down By Angela Corey
- Interview With Marissa Alexander – Battered Mother Serving 20 Years For Warning Shot (VIDEO/PETITION)
- Prosecution Against Marissa Alexander Now Seeks A 60-Year Prison Sentence – For Firing A Warning Shot
Special thanks to Karen Teegarden, the founder and president of UniteWomen.org – an organization that has continuously published news about this case, and supported Alexander, as well as many victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Many of the above diaries were also cross-posted in Daily Kos.
If you are being abused, or know someone who is, there is help. Please contact: National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE
For more information on the organizations fighting for Marissa Alexander’s release, visit: Free Marisssa Now, and Free Marissa Now on Tumblr. (Note: There have been a few stories circulating over the past few days saying Alexander’s case was overturned. That story is from last September (2013) and has caused confusion among Alexander supporters.)