(CNN) -- Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, is facing a mandatory 20 years behind bars. She had pinned her hopes for freedom on a motion for a new trial; that motion was denied Thursday in a Florida courtroom.
In late April, Alexander spoke to CNN as an inmate in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida. "This is my life I'm fighting for," she said while wiping away tears. "If you do everything to get on the right side of the law, and it is a law that does not apply to you, where do you go from there?"
Alexander is referring to Florida's "stand your ground" law, a law that has come under scrutiny since the killing of Trayvon Martin. Unlike the Martin case, which involved one stranger killing another, Alexander's case involved her gun and her abusive husband.
On August 1, 2010, she said her husband, Rico Gray, read text messages on her phone that she had written to her ex-husband. She said Gray became enraged and accused her of being unfaithful. "That's when he strangled me. He put his hands around my neck," Alexander said.
She managed to escape his grip but instead of running out the front door, she ran into the garage, she said, to get into her truck and drive away. Alexander said that in the confusion of the fight, she forgot to get her keys and the garage door wouldn't open, so she made a fateful decision. "I knew I had to protect myself," she said. "I could not fight him. He was 100 pounds more than me. I grabbed my weapon at that point."
She went back inside the house, and when Gray saw her pistol at her side, she said he threatened to kill her, so she raised the gun and fired one shot. "I believe when he threatened to kill me, that's what he was absolutely going to do. That's what he intended to do. Had I not discharged my weapon at that point, I would not be here."
Alexander, however, said she did not aim the gun at her husband. She said she fired into the air intending to scare him away, and Gray quickly left the house with his two children. No one was hurt in the incident, but Alexander sits in jail facing a 20-year sentence on three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Alexander was offered a plea deal, but she opted to go to trial. A jury found Alexander guilty in 12 minutes. She is baffled why invoking the stand your ground law wasn't successful in her case.
Read the rest of the story at the CNN website
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