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“I was in a rage. I called her a whore and bitch and . . . I told her, you know, I used to always tell her that, if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you. It was not the first time of ever saying it to her."

This is a follow-up to the July 15 diary regarding Marissa Alexander. Here are excerpts from the deposition of Rio Grave, Marissa Alexander's abusive husband.

Commentary (Excerpts) by Fred Grimm of the Miami Herald:
The 'victim,' in this twisted tale of Florida justice, was Rico Gray, a 245-pound Jacksonville truck driver with a proclivity for domestic violence.

The 'criminal,' the woman sentenced to 20 years of hard time on May 11, was his wife, Marissa Alexander, five feet, two inches tall and slight enough, as Gray mentioned in his pre-trial deposition, that on two occasions he tossed her from their house without much physical exertion. “She’s a little person so it doesn’t take much for me to pick her up and tote her out my front door . . . You know, I pretty much picked her up and throwed her out.”

In the months before the incident that sent Marissa to prison, in addition to bodily heaving her out the door, Gray had beaten her, head-butted her in the face while she was pregnant, sent her to the hospital. One of his three arrests on domestic violence charges had been for an attack on Alexander that led to a conviction and probation. On Sept. 30, 2009, a Duval County circuit judge issued an injunction against Gray, ordering him to keep away from Alexander. (In his deposition, Gray said he was previously arrested for striking two other women in the face who, he explained, “wouldn’t shut up.”)

But on August 10, 2010, as Gray approached her in a rage, Alexander (a software firm employee with an MBA and no previous criminal record) fired a pistol into the air. A jury convicted her of aggravated assault with a firearm and, under Florida’s draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the presiding judge was left with no discretion. So she got 20 years. Her thug husband got custody of their baby son.

Women’s groups, anti-domestic violence activists, the Jacksonville NAACP, U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown and advocates for sentencing reform have all issued outraged statements condemning the verdict and the sentence.

But it was the words of Gray himself, in his Nov. 22, 2010, deposition, that best illustrated the perversity of his wife’s prosecution and conviction and unyielding prison sentence.

Sitting in the State Attorney’s Office, Gray described how he had erupted in anger when he discovered text messages on his wife’s phone to another man. (Alexander had moved out, but had come home briefly that day to retrieve her clothes.) “I was in a rage. I called her a whore and bitch and . . . I told her, you know, I used to always tell her that, if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you. It was not the first time of ever saying it to her.”

Gray said he had intimated that he had unsavory friends who would carry out vengeful acts on his behalf. “I ain’t going to lie. I been on the streets before I started driving trucks, you know, so I know a lot of people and she knows I know a lot of people.”

As they argued, he recounted, Marissa retreated into the bathroom. “I don’t recall breaking the door open, but I know I beat on it hard enough where it could have been broken open. Probably had some dents.”

Once he managed to get inside, he said he pushed her into the door with enough violence to further damage the door.

Did you put your hands around her neck? “Not that particular day. No.”

They struggled. She ran out through the laundry room into the garage. “But I knew she couldn’t leave out of the garage because the garage door was locked.” She came back, he said, with a gun, yelling at him to leave. “I told her I ain’t leaving until you talk to me, I ain’t going nowhere, and so I started walking toward her and she shot in the air.”

He added details. “I start walking toward her, because she was telling me to leave the whole time and, you know, I was cursing and all that.” His two sons by a previous marriage were in the room. “If my kids wouldn’t have been there, I probably would have put my hand on her. Probably hit her. I got five baby mommas and I put my hands on every last one of them, except for one."

“I physically abused them. Emotionally. You know.”

And then came what should have been the clincher: “I honestly think she just didn’t want me to put my hands on her anymore so she did what she feel like she have to do to make sure she wouldn’t get hurt, you know. You know, she did what she had to do.”

He said, “The gun was never actually pointed at me. When she raised the gun down and raised it up, you know, the gun was never pointed at me. The fact is, you know . . . she never been violent toward me. I was always the one starting it. If she was violent toward me, it was because she was trying to get me up off her or stop me from doing.”

Gray’s deposition might have read like a confession of a husband charged with domestic violence, but it was Marissa Alexander who was convicted in April after a Duval circuit judge rejected her Stand Your Ground defense.

“The way I was with women, they was like they had to walk on egg shells around me. They never knew what I was thinking. What I might say . . . What I might do . . . I hit them. Push them.”

Some victim...
(Thank you, Fred Grimm  Read more: Miami Herald)

Here Is The Full Rico Gray Deposition
I will cover Marissa Alexander's case until she is free and united with her children. One way to help is to sign this petition to Florida Governor Rick Scott. You can also email Governor Scott directly. There is a Free Marissa Now national campaignFacebook page. Let's take care of this. Let’s get this done – for Marissa - for all battered women.
You can personally write to Marissa in prison at this address:

Marissa Alexander #2012033887
500 East Adam St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope to make it easier for her to write back, if she is able.

Originally posted to Leslie Salzillo on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 04:43 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Miami Herald - broken link (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howabout, Leslie Salzillo, Tool, Kevskos

    Thanks so much for the diary.  I'm writing Marissa today.
    And hope to visit with her, if allowed.

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 04:52:36 AM PDT

  •  What a horror that woman has been going through. (4+ / 0-)

    Unbelievable. I am so glad people like you are helping her.

    What was the prosecutor's and court's reasoning? Who could justify this?

    Upside down justice in Florida.

    •  Howabout, thankfully there are thousands helping. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tool, Siri, Mayfly, howabout

      "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

      by Leslie Salzillo on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:20:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  well, their position is that she grabbed a gun, (0+ / 0-)

      intentionally returned to where husband was, and shot at him and his sons.  she didn't have a duty to retreat, but she doesn't have the right to return and attack.

      she claims the garage door was broken (and I believe husband corroborated that in his first interview and subsequently reversed himself), so she had to go back to where he was.

      •  She didn't shoot "at" anybody. At worst, she (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tool, Leslie Salzillo, Siri, Kristina40, Mayfly

        should have been charged with illegal discharge of a firearm. Even Texas law considers that a misdemeanor.  Actually, in Texas, as far as the state is concerned, it's not even illegal unless it's done within a city of at least 100,000 (although cities can have their own ordinances prohibiting it).

        I expect Rick Perry to lead a repeal effort any day now.

        I didn't think any state could be more backward and draconian re criminal justice than Texas, but damn, I've been proved wrong.

        Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

        by ZedMont on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:39:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm just explaining the prosecutor's position. (0+ / 0-)
          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
            Corey says that shot was fired at “adult height,” directly at Gray, who was standing in the adjacent living room with his sons, who were aged 9 and 13 at the time
            •  Okay, let's take a look at this. (0+ / 0-)

              1.  The alleged victim says she never pointed the gun at him.  

              2.  This prosecutor says she fired directly at him, at adult
                   head height.

              3.  The prosecutor said the bullet then ricocheted off either
                   the "roof" or the wall.

              Huh?  Off the roof or the wall?  Either the bullet somehow made it's way outside the house, or this woman doesn't know the difference between a roof and a ceiling.  She acts like she is so positive about the trajectory of the bullet, and yet she can't tell definitively whether it ricocheted off "the roof" or a wall.  That does not say much for police forensics.

              I only have two things to say about Corey's version of things:

              1.  When you fire a pistol directly at someone at head height, they generally drop graveyard dead or gravely wounded.

              2.  When you fire directly at someone's head, there is no way for the bullet to richochet off "the roof" unless the person you're firing at is eight feet tall.

              One thing is painfully honest here.  This woman did not have the benefit of a Don West or Mark O'Mara on her defense team.  They would have chewed Corey up and spit her out.

              Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

              by ZedMont on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:08:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  one more snippet (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            " Police retrieved a shell casing from the kitchen floor, the weapon, which was lying on the living room table, and they observed the bullet hole, which had gone through the kitchen wall and lodged in the ceiling."

        •  ZedMont - In Florida (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina, ZedMont

          discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony carries a MINIMUM 20 year sentence. The felony, IIRC, was aggravated assault. Threatening someone with a firearm is aggravated assault.
             Under our state's quaint laws, though, she could have killed him, claimed that her life was in danger and probably not even been prosecuted.
             All the incentives in Florida are toward killing your adversary in a confrontation. Had she not fired the gun, but simply threatened hi with it, the minimum penalty is ten years.

        •  No, at worst (0+ / 0-)

          she shot at him and missed. At BEST she didn't shoot at anyone.

          We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

          by denise b on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 06:26:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This case is an example of an unjust system (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos, Pi Li, andalusi

        however it should be noted that the shot she fired went through a wall into a room where there were two minor children who could have been killed. That was what made this a crime that was unrelated to Stand Your Ground. This was a case where States Attorney Angela Corey could have used her office to charge a minor crime, but she has a reputation for overcharging and being very hard nosed on defendants.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 06:03:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That may be their position, Johnny Wurster (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tool, howabout

        Here is the  position of millions of battered women...

        (TRIGGER WARNING) PSA For Women's Aid.

        "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

        by Leslie Salzillo on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 08:11:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One of the unintended consequences of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leslie Salzillo, Kevskos, Kristina40

    the prohibition against using coerced confessions from defendants is that the agents of law enforcement go out of their way to exact self-incriminating statements through trickery and fake sympathy. Also, the enumeration of the prohibition against extracting self-incrimination seems to have given confession an importance in the judicial process it doesn't deserve. A confession virtually seals a person's guilt. Indeed, most of the people released from prison in the innocence project were convicted on the basis of supposedly freely given pleas, agreeing to crimes they didn't actually commit.
    Then too, the agents of law enforcement are as prone to laziness as any other bureaucrat and confessions make their jobs easy. So, people who confess (like the husband "victim") are rewarded by the judicial system. Many a repeat offender is on the street because he learned early on that verbal compliance is his ticket to freedom. That's another one of the negatives of the culture of obedience.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:33:31 AM PDT

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