Marissa Alexander plans to return to school, find work

Author: Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – A Florida woman who claimed self-defense after prosecutors say she fired a gun at her estranged husband and his two sons says she’s relieved to be out of prison, but she’s not ready to be a public figure.

Marissa Alexander, 34, was released from prison Jan. 27 after pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the 2010 shooting.

She was sentenced to the 1,095 days she already had spent in jail, and she also received two years of house arrest.

“It’s a relief,” Alexander told The Florida Times-Union ( “I can start making plans for the future.”

Alexander had faced 60 years if convicted at trial because of Florida’s minimum-mandatory-sentencing law pertaining to firearm use.

The jury at her first trial in 2012 found her guilty after deliberating for 12 minutes. That verdict was thrown out after a judge ruled the trial court incorrectly required Alexander to prove she was abused by her husband.

Alexander hopes now to return to school and get a job as a paralegal to support her 14-year-old twins and a 4-year-old daughter. She is now living with her first husband, and her house arrest will allow her to leave home to attend work, school, church and doctor’s appointments.

“It was incredibly difficult to take that plea,” Alexander said. “But I thought about my kids. It was mainly the children that made me decide to do it.”

She is the process of divorcing her estranged husband, the father of her 4-year-old daughter. Alexander said she fired a warning shot during an argument after he charged and threatened her.

She was denied immunity under Florida’s self-defense law. No one was injured in the shooting.

Critics argued that the long prison term sought under the state’s minimum-mandatory sentencing laws was unfair, but Alexander said prosecutors were just doing their jobs.

“I try not to make it personal,” she said.

Alexander said she plans to remain out of the public eye for now as she rebuilds her life.

“Everything has a time and a season,” she said. “It’s not the time for me now to become a public figure.”

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