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Next phase of Marissa Alexander's life begins

Marissa Alexander reads a statement after being released from jail.
Marissa Alexander reads a statement after being released from jail.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Marissa Alexander began the next chapter of her life on Wednesday.

Her mother says Alexander is relieved to be out of jail -- even though she will remain on community control for another couple years -- and glad to be back home with her children.

"I am just happy to see it behind her," said Alexander's mother, Helen Jenkins. "And I'm glad to know that her children will feel secure now, knowing that their mom is home and they don't have to worry about if she has to go back."

In November, Alexander was sentenced to three years in jail after pleading guilty to three felony charges for firing a shot in the direction of her husband and two stepchildren in August 2010. She claims the shot was fired in self defense, claiming she was assaulted by her husband, Rico Gray, but a judge twice denied her stand-your-ground claim.

This is her second sentence. After an initial trial, Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison under the state's 10-20-Life sentencing guidelines for crimes involving firearms.

Jenkins says that was a difficult time for the family.

"A lot of times, you know, I would know it would be weighing heavy on her, and I know there was nothing I could do," Jenkins said. "But I know if I kept praying, there was something God could do."

While Alexander was serving that time, an appeals court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial. Last year, a week before her retrial, Alexander agreed to a plea agreement.

With credit for time served, she was ordered to spend 65 days in jail, then two more years under house arrest. That 65 days ended Tuesday and she left the Duval County Courthouse.

For the next two years, Alexander has to wear a GPS ankle monitor and can only leave home to go to work, job interviews, church and other family and medical events. Much of Alexander's first day out of jail was spent doing paperwork at the office handling her community control.

"The Department of Corrections will be planning (to) visit out to her house to make sure that her house is suitable for (her) to have the ankle monitor," said Gene Nichols, a defense attorney not affiliated with this case. "They are going to be finding out everything there is about her, like they're going to want to know where she's working and not working, when she's going to be working, where she's going to go on interviews."

Despite it all, Jenkins believes her daughter has a bright future ahead.

"Marissa's a smart girl, and she's confident and she believes in God and I think it will all be OK for her," Jenkins said.

Alexander's mother says she would just like to see everybody move on and hopes that nothing like this ever happens to anyone else.