A Florida woman who accepted a plea bargain in a controversial “stand your ground” case is grateful to be out of prison and looks forward to the future.
Marissa Alexander served a total of three years behind bars. She was released on Tuesday and spoke to CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Wednesday.
“I’m out now. I’m looking forward to the future,” she said. “It wasn’t easy, but I’m much stronger, and I am in a better place than I was so I’m just looking forward to moving forward.”
Alexander says she was attempting to flee her husband on August 1, 2010, when she picked up a handgun and fired a shot into a wall. Nobody was struck by the bullet.
The case focused the spotlight on Florida’s “stand your ground” law after Alexander unsuccessfully argued before her trial that she was immune to prosecution because of the law.
Alexander says her husband had read cell phone text messages that she had written to her ex-husband, got angry and tried to strangle her.
Authorities say Alexander needed to be prosecuted because she fired in the direction of a room where children were standing.
The mother of three was initially sentenced to 20 years. That conviction was overturned because the trial judge mishandled instructions to the jury. She later accepted a plea deal.
Her children, Alexander said, were the main motivation behind that decision. She has twin, teenage sons and a 4-year-old daughter.
About her youngest, she said: “We’re in love. So I’m grateful to be able to have, you know, the relationship that we have, and she knows that I’m her mom and that I’m not going anywhere.”
Although she has been released, Alexander will spend the next two years under a kind of house arrest, wearing an ankle bracelet.
“I’ve been looking forward to just being able to close this book — not even a chapter — I want the book closed,” Alexander told CNN. “I just want a whole new book.”