Marissa Alexander seeks new 'stand your ground' hearing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The lawyer for Marissa Alexander, who's accused of firing a shot in the direction of her husband and his two children, has filed hundreds of pages of pretrial motions, including one requesting a new "stand your ground" hearing.

Bruce Zimet said the first hearing, in which immunity was denied, was "marred" and "grossly incomplete" in its consideration of the evidence.

"One of the state's witnesses apparently lied, according to this motion, and so they have a chance to get this lady completely immune from the charges," Channel 4 legal analyst Ed Birk said.

DOCUMENT: Motion for stand-your-ground hearing

Zimet is also asking for evidence seized by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office from the home on the night of the incident to be suppressed, including the gun Alexander fired. The motion says it was a warrantless search.

Zimet is asking for more pretrial discovery material, the history of violence against women for Rico Gray, Alexander's husband, his cellphone records, statements to witnesses, social media postings and his financial background.

Zimet has listed the qualifications of three expert witnesses he wants to call: a psychologist from Georgetown University who counsels victims of domestic violence, the former crime lab director from the Phoenix Police Department and a domestic violence psychologist from Gainesville.

Lastly, there is a motion to have consecutive sentences ruled unconstitutional. Under Florida's 10-20-Life law, Alexander could get three consecutive 20-year sentences if she's convicted again.

"When the full evidentiary record is analyzed under the correct statute, Alexander's right to immunity will be clear," Zimet said.

He has two more attorney's working Alexander's case, including one in New York.

Birk said this is an aggressive defense.

"The state better be ready and have it's A game going because the defense is bringing in experts from out of town," Birk said.

"The State Attorney's Office is reviewing the multiple motions filed by the Defense and will file a response at the appropriate time," the office said in a statement. "The State Attorney's Office is committed to seeking justice for our two child victims and their father."

"The new evidence, they have additional evidence, along with the legal changes will bring this issue, you know, just further. They'll be able to explain with more evidence," said local attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters.

Peoples-Waters spoke to Channel 4 about the odds of "stand your ground" working now and looked at a database of previous cases compiled by the Tampa Bay Times.

There are numerous cases -- domestic incidents similar to Alexander's case, which involved a gun -- where the suspect was either let off or never even charged.

Take the case of Samuel Shuttleworth who used "stand your ground." Shuttleworth shot and killed his roommate after an argument. The Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office did not file charges, saying their wasn't enough evidence to refute Shuttleworth's claim of self-defense.

"There are no other witnesses. You only have one person left because it looked like the other male -- he was killed," said Peoples-Waters. "You just have defendant who left, said that's why he went for his gun and he was never charged at all."

Peoples-Waters suspects if Alexander had shot toward her husband with two kids present in another jurisdiction, it's possible "stand your ground" may have worked.

"You can see certain counties based on law enforcement agencies just really take a real different approach, and it really is very discretional based on detective investigating it," said Peoples-Waters.

Channel 4 also talked to Angie Nixon, who's with the group Florida New Majority. Her group supports Alexander's release.

"Florida New Majority feels that a woman's right to defend herself should've never been on trial," said Nixon. "Marissa Alexander was trying to defend her life and should've never been on trial."

About the Authors:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.