Marissa Alexander Is Finally Free From House Arrest
Betsey Hansen

Marissa Alexander, a Florida woman who fired a warning shot in defense of her abusive husband a few years ago and couldn’t claim “Stand Your Ground,” was freed from house arrest last week after being jailed for three years and serving two years of court-ordered home confinement, Mic reports.

According to a Facebook post, on Jan. 27, she was “freed from house detention and all forms of state confinement.” The mother of three, who fired one shot aimed at a wall that injured no one, accepted a plea deal to dodge 60 years in prison on weapons and assault charges. 

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“We are grateful to God that this chapter of Marissa’s life will come to a close… we are sincerely thankful and appreciative to all who rallied, supported and prayed for Marissa’s release,” the post states.

Now that Alexander is free, many took to social media to celebrate and praise her release.

Alexander’s case drew national attention in 2012, as it occurred during the same time as the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed in the same state. His shooter, George Zimmerman, is a former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted for killing the unarmed teen; the incident became a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows residents to use deadly force in defense of their lives or property, with no obligation to retreat or flee, Zimmerman was not convicted. However, the law was not applicable to Alexander, who claimed self-defense against her admittedly abusive estranged husband, Rico Gray.

Alexander’s case isn’t uncommon. A recent study by The Guardian shows that women are the fastest growing population in the prison system, while the majority of incarcerated women have a history of physical or sexual abuse. Black women and women in low-income communities are disproportionately affected by mandatory arrest policies regarding domestic violence. 

Anne Patterson, who works with battered women at Rikers Island jail in New York with the STEPS To End Family Violence program, “Her release is fantastic as any movement towards the cause is a call for celebration and it doesn’t happen very often.”

However, Patterson says, “There are thousands of Marissa Alexanders who are sitting in jails and prisons right now and they are no more or no less deserving of the attention that she received.”