A Florida woman who claimed she was acting in self-defense when she fired a bullet into a wall during an argument with her estranged husband and his two sons has been released from prison.
Marissa Alexander, 34, had already filed a restraining order against her husband at the time of the 2010 shooting. The woman claimed Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law protected her from facing charges, but after deliberating for only 12 minutes, a jury found Alexander guilty, the Associated Press reported.
Although no one was hurt during the altercation and Alexander had no previous arrest record, the judge was bound by law to sentence her to 20 years in prison after she was unable to prove, as requested by the jury, that her husband abused her. However, the judge ruled the jury wrongly required Alexander to prove her abuse so he granted her a new trial in 2013.
But on Tuesday, Alexander struck a plea deal with prosecutors. She pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and took a prison sentence of 1,095 days, which is the amount of time she has already served behind bars as part of the deal to get her out of prison. Alexander's plea also includes two years of house arrest, according to the AP.
If she would have been convicted at the new trial, Alexander could have faced a maximum of 60 years behind bars.
"Four and a half years have passed since the events of August 1st, 2010, but today after the sentence imposed by Judge Daniel, my family and I will be able to move forward with our lives," Alexander said Tuesday. "Although the journey has been long, and there have been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here where I am today without the many thoughts and prayers of so many people who have voiced their support and encouragement," USAToday reported.
Florida's "stand your ground" law became a topic of national debate following the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, a white-Hispanic. Zimmerman was acquitted of charges in July 2013 but arrested again this month on charges of aggravated assault and domestic violence with a deadly weapon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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