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.
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.
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SOURCE: The Florida Times Union