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Florida mom convicted for firing warning shot released from prison

By
Danielle Haynes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot during a fight with her husband in 2010 was released Tuesday.

Marissa Alexander was convicted of aggravated assault in 2012 for firing what she called a warning shot toward her husband and his two children. Nine days after giving birth to her daughter, Alexander said she was assaulted and threatened by her estranged husband, Rico Gray.

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Alexander's lawyer tried to use the controversial "stand your ground" law in her defense, much like the lawyer for George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison under the state's so-called 10-20-life law. Under that law, a conviction for aggravated assault where a firearm has been discharged carries a mandatory 20-year sentence regardless of any extenuating circumstances.

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Judge James Daniel granted a plea deal, though, allowing Alexander to serve three years in prison. He released her from confinement Tuesday but she must wear a GPS device on her ankle for two years.

She is homebound except to go to work, job interviews, church, her children's schools, and family medical and dental appointments.

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"Today, after the sentence given by Judge Daniel, my family and I will be able to move on with our lives," Alexander said after her release. "Although the journey has been long and there's been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here, where I am today, without the thoughts, many thoughts and many prayers of so many people who voiced their support and encouragement. Words can never express my gratitude for those who stood beside me, including my children and family. I am also grateful that Judge Daniel approached this case with such care and diligence."

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