Woman Sentenced To 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot Against Abusive Husband

Woman Sentenced To 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot Against Abusive HusbandSaying he had no discretion under state law, a judge sentenced a Jacksonville, Florida, woman to 20 years in prison Friday for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband.

‘Persecuted because of her race’

Marissa Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law to derail the prosecution, but a jury in March convicted her of aggravated assault after just 12 minutes of deliberation. The case, which was prosecuted by the same state attorney who is handling the Trayvon Martin case, has gained the attention of civil rights leaders who say the African-American woman was persecuted because of her race.

State Attorney Angela Corey said she had offered Alexander a plea bargain that would have resulted in a three-year prison sentence, but Alexander chose to take the case to a jury trial, where a conviction would carry a mandatory sentence under a Florida law known as “10-20-life.”


‘Reasonably threatened’

The law mandates increased penalties for some felonies, including aggravated assault, in which a gun is carried or used. Corey said the case deserved to be prosecuted because Alexander fired in the direction of a room where two children were standing. Alexander said she was attempting to flee her husband, Rico Gray, on August 1, 2010, when she picked up a handgun and fired a shot into a wall. She said her husband threatened to kill her, so she fired one shot.

Alexander’s attorneys tried to use the state law that allows people to use potentially deadly force anywhere they feel reasonably threatened with serious harm or death. But a previous judge in the case rejected the request, saying Alexander’s decision to go back into the house was not consistent with someone in fear for her safety, according to the Florida Times Union newspaper.

Do you agree with the 20-year jail sentence given to Marissa Alexander? Why or why not?

Source: CNN Wire Staff | CNN

Image: Political Blind Spot

Former MLB Player Ryan Freel Found Dead

Former MLB Player Ryan Freel Found DeadRyan Freel was found dead at his home in Jacksonville, Fla. on Saturday afternoon, victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed via the Florida Times-Union. Freel was 36 years old, leaving a wife, Christie, along with three daughters, notes C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Eye on Baseball. First Coast News of Jacksonville reported his death first.

‘Violence against his body’

Freel played in parts of eight major league seasons, seeing action in 594 games — 544 with the Cincinnati Reds — and four other teams, from 2001-2009. He batted .268/.354/.369 with 143 stolen bases and 22 home runs. He logged most of his innings in the outfield, particularly center, but was known for having enough versatility to play third base and second.

He also was known for going all out. He dived into the grass, the dirt and the stands chasing after balls. He would crash into fences. He would collide with teammates. And all of the violence against his body caused him significant harm. Freel said in 2007 after a particularly brutal collision with teammate Norris Hopper that he had “probably nine or 10″ concussions in his life, but he couldn’t remember for certain.


‘Imaginary friend’

In 2010 when Freel announced his retirement, Kevin Kaduk of the Stew lauded him for his unique contributions to baseball. They included the revelation that he:

Claimed to have an imaginary friend named “Farney” who lived inside his head. “Everybody thinks I talk to myself, so I tell ‘em I’m talking to Farney,'” Freel told the Dayton Daily News in 2006.

Back in May, former NFL great Junior Seau was found dead at his home under similar circumstances, and the health problems or deaths of other athletes who suffered brain trauma have come under close scrutiny in recent years. Perhaps concussions were a contributing factor in Freel’s death.

Were you also fond of watching Ryan Freel’s games? Do you think concussions had anything to do with his suicide?

Source: David Brown, Yahoo Sports

Image: USA Today