Fourth Circuit State Attorney Angela Corey discussed some recent developments that she has been witnessing in the courtroom when she visited with the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association Thursday.
Corey’s office has been involved with a number of high-profile cases recently, including a first-degree murder charge in the death of a 2-year-old boy and two “Stand Your Ground Law” cases that have gained national attention.
“We’ve never been faced with a 12-year-old that committed murder, but we’ve been faced with numerous 13- and 14-year-olds who committed murder,” said Corey, discussing the Cristian Fernandez case. Fernandez is charged in the death of his half-brother.
That statement appeared to surprise the audience, but Corey also discussed another trend.
“I can tell you this: the alarming trend is not young men committing violent crimes, it’s young women. We are seeing it more and more, and they are vicious,” said Corey.
A study by the Women’s Prison Association’s Institute on Women and Criminal Justice illustrated that although it is a small percentage of the prison population, the number of women serving terms of more than one year has grown at a steady pace each year since 1980.
The study tracked the number of women in Florida prisons from 1977 to 2004. The lowest population was recorded in 1980, with 807, and the highest was in 2004, with 5,660.
At the end of 2004, a total of 85,530 inmates were serving time in Florida prisons.
Corey used the recent case of Marissa Alexander as an example.
Alexander claimed that she was a victim of abuse and fired a shot at her husband in self-defense, claiming protection under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
“They got into a domestic and (Alexander’s husband, Rico Gray) did what you want somebody to do. He told the boys, ‘get dressed. We are out of here,’” said Corey, referring to two children with him.
Corey then detailed how Alexander walked to the garage, retrieved a gun from the car, came back into the room and fired a shot in the wall next to the door where Gray and the two boys were standing.
“It was fired through the wall in their direction, hence aggravated assault, hence a 20-year minimum mandatory (prison sentence), because it is so dangerous to fire a gun in the direction of human beings,” said Corey.
Alexander claimed during the trial that the garage door wouldn’t work, so she couldn’t escape, but the jury convicted her of the charges. She was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison, but can appeal the decision.
“Our lawyers are in there fighting cases like this every day. She’s no more special than any of the men that fire guns at people that we send to prison and we have to because it is so dangerous. We have to stop the gun violence,” said Corey.