On Friday, 31-year-old Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in jail for shooting at her abusive husband. Alexander was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing into a wall near her husband and his two young children at their Jacksonville home in 2010. Citing protection under the controversial Stand Your Ground law, the mother of three maintains that she was protecting herself from a man that had assaulted her several times in the past.

With family and friends there to testify and support, the courtroom was a dismal setting as she was given her mandatory 20-year sentence under Florida law. Alexander's daughter, Havelin, 11, read from a letter she'd written and questioned, "how my mom could be beaten but she's the one arrested.” Alexander, who did not have a criminal record previously, was offered a plea deal of three years but refused it. The family is currently raising funds to hire another attorney to appeal her case.