JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The husband of a woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a gunshot into a wall during an argument with him spoke publicly Wednesday, saying he thought he was going to die in front of his children that night in 2010.
Rico Gray's estranged wife, 31-year-old Marissa Alexander, was found guilty of aggravated assault when she fired the warning shot.
Alexander said Gray was abusive and that she was only defending herself.
She tried to use the "stand your ground" law as a defense, but lost.
The judge gave her the mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison under the state's "10-20-Life" law.
Gray and Alexander had been married two months when the incident happened.
"She was texting Lincoln Alexander, her ex-husband, pictures of my daughter, saying that, 'Hey, poppy, we wish we were with y'all,'" Gray said.
He said he told Alexander he was done with the relationship and he and his kids were leaving.
"Marissa came out of the bathroom, and she was punching me, hitting me, so I had my hands over my face just to stop her from hitting me in my face," Gray said. "I messed around and I said, 'The baby probably ain't even mine. It's probably Lincoln Alexander's baby,' but not in those words. And she immediately stopped hitting me."
"I knew exactly what she was going to do. She said, 'I got something for you,'" Gray said. "She had the gun pointed at me. By then I'm begging Marissa, 'Please, put the gun down, because she's got the gun pointed at me while (my son) Pernell was on my left side grabbing onto me. As soon as I took my eyes off of Marissa, that's when I heard a gunshot."
Alexander claimed she fired a warning shot in self-defense because she was constantly abused by Gray. Contrary to what was heard in his deposition, Gray said he never laid a hand on Alexander.
Gray said pictures they took with each other after the shooting are proof they had gotten back together.
But Alexander insisted she was standing her ground, and instead of taking a three-year plea deal offered by prosecutors, she went to trial and was sentenced to 20 years Friday.
Gray said his 12-year old son Pernell constantly has nightmares about the shooting.
"I had a nightmare two days ago," Pernell said. "It was like the day of the shooting, and a bullet actually hit me in my back. And I had woke up and my back started hurting."
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