Marissa Alexander, the battered Jacksonville, Fla., mother jailed for firing a "warning shot" at her admittedly abusive husband, remains in jail, more than a month after her aggravated assault conviction and 20-year sentence were overturned Sept. 26.
Alexander supporters hoped a Thursday status hearing – her first court appearance since an appellate panel ruled in her favor – would yield what they had long awaited: a decision by Florida State Attorney Angela Corey to drop the case.
They had no such luck.
Corey is refusing to modify the charges against Alexander and she opposes bail as Alexander awaits her new trial.
"The State Attorney's Office has no intention of dropping the very serious charges against the defendant," Corey's office said in a statement provided to U.S. News. "The SAO will continue to pursue justice for our two child victims and their father who were endangered by the shot the defendant fired at them. A bond hearing is set for November 8th – the SAO opposes the release of the defendant."
Around three dozen members of the "Free Marissa Now" coalition rallied outside the courthouse, The Florida Times Union reported, as Judge James Daniel scheduled the Nov. 8 bond hearing and a March 31, 2014, trial start date.
Alexander fired one shot into the ceiling of her home on Aug. 1, 2010, after a fight with her then-husband Rico Gray. She had recently given birth to a baby girl, and no one was injured by the shooting.
Many advocates for Alexander are infuriated that Gray's admitted abuse of women wasn't considered grounds for Alexander to defend herself.
Gray was arrested in 2006 and 2009 for domestic battery. In 2006 the charge was dropped and in 2009 he received probation, the Times-Union reported. Alexander was granted a restraining order against Gray after his 2009 arrest.
In a deposition given before trial, Gray admitted, "I got five baby mammas, and I [hit] every last one of them, except for one."
Florida's First District Court of Appeals ruled in September that jury members who found Alexander guilty were provided inaccurate instructions, invalidating her conviction, which brought a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence.
"For appellant, she testified, the firing of the gun was the culmination of a year-and-a-half's abuse at her husband's hands," the court ruled. "[T]he trial court improperly transmuted the prosecution's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt into a burden on the appellant to prove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt."
The case has attracted intense passion. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., confronted Corey outside the trial and often denounces the prosecutor in interviews. The NAACP has also advocated for freedom for Alexander.
Alexander's stiff sentence garnered an intense bout of media attention after the July 13 acquittal of George Zimmerman, who Corey unsuccessfully prosecuted for allegedly murdering Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman argued he shot the teenager in self defense.
On July 20 more than 1,000 Alexander supporters rallied outside Corey's office and demanded her resignation.
Aleta Alston-Touré, the Jacksonville coordinator for "Free Marissa Now," said Corey's decision to re-prosecute Alexander was racially motivated.
"The big elephant in the room when it comes to Jacksonville is that racism is the issue," said Alston-Touré. "She thinks she can get away with this. ... That's what's wrong with the system, no one is holding her accountable."