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Florida Mom Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Firing a Warning Shot Is Getting a New Trial

Crime

"Fundamental error."

Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot, will get a new trial. (AP)

A Florida woman serving 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot during an argument with her estranged husband is being given a new trial.

Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot, will get a new trial. (AP)

Marissa Alexander fired a bullet into a wall in 2010 after she felt her husband was threatening her. No one got hurt, and she had never been arrested before. Still, a judge was bound by state law to sentence her to 20 years behind bars after a jury found her guilty.

The 33-year-old mother claimed self-defense and tried to use Florida's "stand your ground" law. She had already filed a restraining order against her husband.

On Thursday, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that while the judge was right to block the use of "stand your ground," the court failed to properly instruct the jury on what is required to prove self-defense, the Associated Press reported.

The jury instructions amounted to a "fundamental error" and required Alexander to prove self-defense "beyond a reasonable doubt," Judge Robert Benton said, according to the AP.

Faith Gay, one of Alexander's attorneys, said they were grateful for the appeals court's ruling.

"We are looking forward to taking the case back to trial," Gay said.

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