A Florida judge has denied Marissa Alexander a new self-defense hearing, finding that the recent addition of a “warning shot” provision to the state’s so-called Stand Your Ground law could not be applied retroactively, according to a report from Salon:
The law allows a person to fire without retreat if they have a “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.” Alexander, a survivor of domestic violence who says she fired a warning shot at a wall to fend off her abusive husband Rico Gray after he threatened to kill her, was denied immunity in her first hearing. She was later convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.
As Irin Carmon at MSNBC points out, Alexander’s lawyers argued that evidence not previously introduced — one of Gray’s children recanted his testimony, expert testimony on ‘battered women’s syndrome” and Gray’s history of domestic violence and lying to law enforcement — warranted a second hearing. But Circuit Judge James Daniel wrote that the evidence did not merit a new hearing because “the basic outlines of her claim and [Gray’s] claim have not changed at all.”
The case will now go to trial, and it will be left to a jury to decide if Alexander had a “reasonable fear of imminent peril” when Gray broke through the door of the bathroom where she was hiding during a domestic violence incident, grabbed her by the neck, choked her and shoved her to the floor. Alexander said that Gray had threatened to kill her when she tried to escape through the garage, but found herself trapped when the garage door wouldn’t open. She returned to the house having retrieved a gun and fired at a wall near where Gray stood. No one was harmed.