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Jacksonville pastors call for original plea deal in Marissa Alexander case

Posted: March 24, 2014 - 6:50pm  |  Updated: March 25, 2014 - 7:02am
Marissa Alexander stands outside the Duval County Courthouse with her lawyers Bruce Zimet (L) and Faith Gay (R) during a press conference after she remained released on bond after the hearing. On Friday Jan. 10, 2013 Circuit Judge James Daniel listened to testimony as to whether he should revoke Marissa Alexander's bond.
The Florida Times-Union, Bob Mack
Marissa Alexander stands outside the Duval County Courthouse with her lawyers Bruce Zimet (L) and Faith Gay (R) during a press conference after she remained released on bond after the hearing. On Friday Jan. 10, 2013 Circuit Judge James Daniel listened to testimony as to whether he should revoke Marissa Alexander's bond.

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Saying the community needs to move on and deal with violent crime, Jacksonville area pastors are calling for State Attorney Angela Corey to offer Marissa Alexander the same plea deal she rejected before she was originally convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Alexander, 33, rejected a deal that would have sent her to prison for three years. She was later convicted and sentenced to 20 years, but that conviction was overturned on appeal.

“Given that she’s been granted a chance at a retrial, she should have the chance at a redo,” said the Rev. Mark Griffin of Wayman Ministries.

Attorney Bruce Zimet, who represents Alexander, has previously said she would listen to all offers from prosecutors. Alexander could face 60 years in prison if she’s convicted again.

If the same plea deal was offered now, Alexander would likely be a free woman in a matter of months because of time already served. She was in jail and prison from February 2011 to November 2013. She was released on bond last year after her conviction was overturned after an appeals court ruled the judge improperly instructed the jury on how it should consider her claims of self-defense.


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Alexander was convicted on charges of firing a gun at her estranged husband, Rico Gray, and two of his children. She said it was a warning shot.

Alexander’s trial, now scheduled for July 28, is expected to be a national media frenzy, a prospect Griffin dreads following the trials of Michael Dunn in Jacksonville and George Zimmerman in Sanford.

“A third racially polarizing trial would not be good for blacks or whites in this community,” he said. “We have been in the national and international spotlight for all the wrong reasons.”

No matter what the verdict, nothing good will come out of this trial for Jacksonville, Griffin said.

The Rev. Marvin McQueen II of First Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville Beach said the city needs to address its growing crime problem, and that is difficult with the Alexander case sucking up all the attention.

“This is a chance to begin the healing and benefit the community,” he said.

The Rev. Kenneth Adkins of Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship in Brunswick, Ga., said black-on-black crime needs to be addressed and the pastors need to discuss ways to find improvement with law enforcement. He said that becomes easier if the Alexander case is done.

“The city isn’t getting a chance to heal,” Adkins said.

The State Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment Monday, but last week the office told WJXT TV-4 that the State Attorney’s Office does not extend plea offers publicly.

Griffin said the call for a plea deal shouldn’t be taken as support for Alexander or a criticism of the state attorney, but as a call for everyone to do what is right.

Griffin was a vocal figure in the Jacksonville anti-crime initiative that occurred after 8-year-old DreShawna Davis was killed in 2006. One of his reasons for speaking out now is concern that the community is reverting back to the type of crime that occurred then.

Larry Hannan: (904) 359-4470

Comments (43)

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reallydude
108
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reallydude 03/26/14 - 04:33 pm
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Sounds like you really want

Sounds like you really want the law to change, because under Florida law, 20 years was mandatory. Now 60 years is just idiotic

lilrio
5131
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lilrio 03/26/14 - 04:14 pm
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0
Premium Member

@reallydude Rico Gray lied in

@reallydude Rico Gray lied in his deposition and then changed his story and testimony in the stand your ground hearing. Also one of the kids refused to testify at trial. Wonder why. Putting this woman in prison for 20 years and now seeking 60 years is an injustice. Corey needs to go.

reallydude
108
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reallydude 03/26/14 - 03:31 pm
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So why did the children tell

So why did the children tell the arresting officer a completely different story than what is being portrayed. On the day of the shooting, the children witnessed her attacking him... But then again, that wouldn't make a good headline. Both of these adults deserve jail time. Point blank period..

lilrio
5131
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lilrio 03/26/14 - 03:23 pm
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0
Premium Member

She had a right to get her

She had a right to get her gun to protect herself from the violence. The gun was kept under the roof of her home. Hence car in garage gun in the car. The garage is part of her home under the roof of the home. Marissa does not have to retreat or leave her home to defend herself. It does not matter if the gun was in the kitchen, bathroom or garage it is all part of her home under the roof. If she actually exited the home to get the gun by physically leaving the home beyond the roof that covers the home then I would say Marissa is wrong and went to far. Marissa never left the home just went to garage which is part of the home to get her gun. Marissa has no responsibility to flee her home. It does not matter if she lied about garage door not working or in a panic just did not push the button just right to open it. Do you want someone to tell you where you have to put your gun under your roof of your home. The judge, Angela Corey and Marissa's attorney all failed her on this very basic principal that she does not have to leave her home to escape threatening violence.

reallydude
108
Points
reallydude 03/26/14 - 02:54 pm
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0

So are you saying her rights

So are you saying her rights were violated?

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