Alexander's attorneys aim to use expert testimony

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Around 300 will be summoned to enter the jury pool for Marissa Alexander's retrial and one of the experts the final six jurors may hear from is a psychologist who will testify on the psychological aspects of a battered woman.

A state of mind, a state of fear so deep, that would make Marissa Alexander believe death or serious bodily harm was imminent. This is what expert testimony aims to provide to jurors in Alexander's retrial in the summer. The motion filed by Alexander's attorney talks about how choking played a role in her reactions an act mental health professionals like Connie Clark say could be a trigger.

"When a person like this young lady has been abused so much over the past and she's not dealt with it, she probably had what they call a trigger which caused her to relive all this abuse from the past it puts them in kind of a fight or flight mode," said Clark.

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Clark says it's a sign of post-traumatic stress from repeated abuse the defense claims. Clark is not the professional called to testify in the case, but has experience with domestic violence cases.

Motions say the day of the 2010 incident Alexander's estranged husband Rico Gray barged into the bathroom, grabbed and squeezed her neck. When she was able to get away and flee to the garage, the door was broken, but she retrieved her legally owned firearm and returned to the house. Alexander says Rico came at her threatening to kill her and she fired a warning shot.

"Some women are afraid to leave," said Clark.

Expert testimony will also attempt to explain why Alexander continued in an alleged abusive relationship.

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"Women and men don't leave the other because they feel like they've done something wrong and they feel that if they do something better than the abuse will stop," added Clark.

The State Attorney's office says they are reviewing these motions and will file their response at the appropriate time. The office says it's committed to seeking justice for the two child victims and their father.


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