TODAY   |  September 28, 2013

New trial in controversial ‘warning shot’ case

An appeals court has granted a new trial in the case of a Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing what she called a “warning shot” at her abusive husband. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>>> florida's controversial stand your ground law is back in the spotlight this morning because a woman who was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for firing a gun to scare her husband is being grand a new trial. gabe gutierrez has more.

>> reporter: the appeals court ruled the judge made a error during jury struck shen. a case that drew national attention is once again in the spotlight.

>> love you!

>> love you.

>> reporter: this morning marisa alexander has a new chance of freedom. an appeals court ordering a new trial after she was convicted last year of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon .

>> she has no prior record and led an upstanding life. everyone can see no one was harmed here.

>> reporter: in august of 2010 during a violent argument with her husband in jacksonville they went to the garage and got her gun which she illegal owned and claiming he threatened to kill her, alexander says she fired a warning shot into the wall to scare him off. but prosecutors argued she was aiming at her husband and missed. the jury took just 12 minutes to convict her. florida's gun laws require a minimum sentence of 20 years. a punishment even her now ex-husband thinks is too severe.

>> he recognizes that she is going to be punished. he wants her to be punished appropriately.

>> reporter: xampalexander case drew national attention in last year's shooting death of unarmed teenager trayvon martin. while the appeals court upheld that stand your ground did not play in alexander 's case it did rule the jury instructions were wrong because the judge implied it was up to alexander to prove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt when, in fact, the burden of proof falls on the prosecution.

>> the court is saying it's inartfully worded and gives the jury the wrong impression who bears that burden.

>> reporter: prosecutors call the reversal a legal technicality and say they plan to argument the same set of facts. a new trial that has not been set, but alexander 's lawyers say they hope it happens within the next six months. in the meantime, they plan to ask the court here to reconsider her bail. back to you.