After 1,030 days in jail and faced with a possible 60 year sentence for firing a warning shot to ward off her abusive husband, Marissa Alexander accepted a plea agreement on Monday that will likely end her incarceration come January.
As part of the agreement, Alexander pled guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and was sentenced to three years in prison. The 1,030 days she has already spent in jail will be counted toward that sentence, but Alexander will still be incarcerated for another 65 days.
But as the Associated Press reported, the second count against Alexander is considered an “open plea,” meaning that she could still be sentenced to five years at the judge’s discretion. After her release, Alexander will be ordered to spend two years under “community control,” she will be held under house arrest and required to wear a monitoring device.
The plea deal will mean that after more than 1,000 days in jail, after being vilified by state attorney Angela Corey, after being twice denied the ability to invoke stand your ground to justify the warning shot she fired to defend herself against a man who had threatened to kill her — a shot that harmed no one — she will be able to go home.
“The plea deal is a relief in some ways, but this is far from a victory. The deal will help Marissa and her family avoid yet another very expensive and emotionally exhausting trial that could have led to the devastating ruling of spending the rest of her life in prison,” Alisa Bierria, of the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign, said in a statement.
“Marissa’s children, family, and community need her to be free as soon as possible. However, the absurdity in Marissa’s case was always the fact that the courts punished and criminalized her for surviving domestic violence, for saving her own life. The mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years, and then 60 years, just made the state’s prosecution increasingly shocking. But we have always believed that forcing Marissa to serve even one day in prison represents a profound and systemic attack on black women’s right to exist and all women’s right to self-defense.”
Katie McDonough is Salon’s politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.