A Florida woman who was arrested four years ago for firing a gun at her estranged husband during a domestic dispute agreed to plead guilty Monday in exchange for avoiding a potential 60 years in prison.
Marissa Alexander, 31, will instead be sentenced to three years in prison, but with time served, she will be out in 65 days.
Alexander was charged after a 2010 altercation with Rico Gray, her estranged husband, during which she said she fired a "warning shot" into the ceiling with a legal firearm after he threatened her in their house.
In 2012, a Duval County jury initially found Alexander guilty on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to harm and she was sentenced to 20 years. During the trial, Alexander claimed self-defense and rejected a plea agreement similar to the one she signed on Monday.
Before the trial, Gray admitted in a sworn statement that he was abusive to Alexander, calling her a "whore" and a "bitch," and "hitting her in the mouth" because she wouldn't "shut up."
Gray also admitted to an abusive past in his deposition. "I got five baby mamas and I put my hands on every last one of them except one," Gray said.
In a statement released after she was found guilty, Alexander detailed the events of Aug. 1, 2010.
She said that she fired the gun after Gray charged at her and yelled, "Bitch, I will kill you!" But the judge denied her "stand your ground" motion, saying Alexander could have exited the house instead of shooting.
Prosecutor Angela Corey also argued in court that Alexander was "angry" but "not in fear" .
During her appeal in July 2014, Alexander entered a new motion for a "stand your ground" hearing that was denied by the court.
This week, facing a new trial that could have led to 60 years in prison, Alexander agreed to the plea bargain, avoiding a mandatory 20-year prison sentence for the deadly weapon charge. She will likely be released on Jan. 27, 2015, after which she will serve two years of house arrest.
Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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