'Good, Absurd' News for Woman Jailed Over Warning Shot

Marissa Alexander released from prison as part of a plea agreement
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2015 10:24 AM CST
'Good, Absurd' News for Woman Jailed Over Warning Shot
Marissa Alexander gives a statement to the media after her sentencing in Jacksonville, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.   (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Bob Mack)

Initially sentenced to 20 years behind bars, Marissa Alexander is out after three. The Florida mother of three—who fired what she said was a warning shot at her estranged husband during a fight in 2010—was released Tuesday as part of a November plea deal. She pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and was sentenced to time served. Alexander also agreed to two years of house arrest with an ankle monitor, but will be able to work, take her children to school and doctors' appointments, and attend classes, the New York Daily News reports. "I can't go back and change what has been decided or what hasn't been decided," Alexander tells CNN's Anderson Cooper, noting she took the deal "to guarantee my children that I'd be home."

"Of course, this is relatively good news, for a woman who was supposed to spend 20 years in jail," writes Katie Halper at Raw Story. "But it's absurd that Alexander was ever convicted in the first place." After attempting to flee the house of her then-husband, Rico Gray—who said he "probably would have put my hand on her" if his two children weren't in the house—Alexander grabbed a gun and shot into a wall. No one was injured, but prosecutors argued the shot wasn't directed toward the ceiling and could have killed Gray or his kids. She argued she fired in self-defense, but was found guilty of aggravated assault in 2012. That conviction was overturned due to an error in jury instructions, and she could have faced 60 years in prison under Florida's minimum sentencing laws if convicted in a new trial. She says she hopes to become a paralegal. (Read more Marissa Alexander stories.)

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