Written by By Pam Ray, CNN
The trial of a New Jersey man charged with killing a witness in the case of his neighbor’s daughter who was killed in 2012 is underway. Ravi’s trial is expected to last at least 10 days.
Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville, Florida woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison in October 2013 after being convicted of aggravated assault and firing a gun in a commission of a felony.
Alexander was convicted on two counts of aggravated assault and one count of firing a gun into a building and damaging property.
In a 2014 Florida appeals court’s decision, the court found that Alexander had not fired a handgun into the room or ceiling of her house where her son was staying with his father. The ruling also said that a warning shot couldn’t be considered an act of aggression since Alexander pulled the trigger.
After the court’s decision, Alexander faced criticism for firing a gun into the air during a domestic dispute.
But in September 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled the sentencing was unreasonable. In a 5-2 decision, the court said that a person convicted of a felony must be given credit for pre-trial services to reduce their sentence.
The same court also ruled that Alexander could not be sentenced to a term longer than mandatory minimums.
On Thursday, Alexander was released from jail after serving five months of her sentence and has been moved into a community-based residential treatment facility. Alexander has filed a federal lawsuit against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department for “violation of due process, malicious prosecution and civil rights,” The Times-Union reported.
Her case is now in the hands of the United States District Court in Jacksonville, Florida.
Trial court testimony
In 2014, a witness told police he thought Alexander was going to shoot her boyfriend when he went into the bedroom and left his iPad on the bed. After Alexander returned home she picked up the iPad and returned to the bedroom, where she pulled out a handgun, according to an arrest report.
The witness said he left the bedroom before Alexander pulled the trigger. He returned to the bedroom just as Alexander turned the gun toward him, he said.
The witness heard a bang and saw a look of shock on Alexander’s face, he told investigators. The witness said Alexander pulled the trigger, but there was no bullet and the gun was empty.
The witness told investigators he had seen Alexander in the past when she threatened to kill someone and blow up their house.
Throughout the incident, Alexander’s then-boyfriend, Rico Gray, tried to calm Alexander down and said he didn’t want her to harm him, according to the report.
Alexander’s relatives also testified during the hearing. Alexander’s sister called Alexander “a perfect daughter, a perfect sister, a perfect mother” and said she went to the hospital on Sunday “because of Rico.”
Under questioning from Assistant State Attorney Torrence Williams, Valerie Gray said it was just the two of them and Gray’s 2-year-old son on the couch when Alexander pulled out the gun. “That’s not normal,” Valerie Gray testified.
“She’s not a bad person,” Valerie Gray said of her sister. “I don’t believe she intended to hurt him.”
Gray’s brother, Jerry Davis, also said Alexander was not violent. “As far as I was concerned, she was a good girl,” Davis testified.
Gray also said he wanted to talk about his son.