A Selma, Alabama, domestic violence survivor is facing murder charges for fatally shooting her abuser, who was also her husband.
Last month, 38-year-old Jacqueline Dixon was taken into custody for shooting 44-year-old Carl Omar Dixon after he allegedly charged at her aggressively, The Appeal reports.
Although Dixon claimed self-defense for the killing, she has still been charged with murder, and her bond was set at $100,000. Prosecutors on the case are moving forward with the charge despite the fact that back in 2016 Dixon requested an order of protection against her husband for punching her in the face and verbally assaulting her — which serves as evidence of the long term abuse she endured.
Additionally, the state of Alabama has the infamous “Stand Your Ground” law in place, which states an individual is justified in using physical force against another person in order to defend themselves from what they reasonably believe to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by the other person.
While the statute is controversial and came into question by the entire country following the 2012 murder of Florida teen Trayvon Martin at the hands of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, Dixon’s is an appropriate case in which the legislation should be considered.
However, as The Appeal notes, Stand Your Ground and other justifiable homicide defenses are rarely granted to women, especially black women. In the last several years, two high profile cases have called attention to this disparity.
In 2005, Catina Curley of New Orleans fatally shot her abusive husband and was convicted of second-degree murder. She was sentenced to life in prison, but she was just recently granted a new trial by the Louisiana Supreme Court.
In 2012, Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, Florida, was convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison for simply firing a warning shot in the air during an altercation with her abusive husband. After spending five years behind bars, Alexander was finally freed in 2017 after social justice crusaders advocated for her release.
As a result of these unjust convictions, there are more grassroots efforts rallying support for criminalized domestic violence survivors, such as the Survived and Punished campaign.
Dixon’s attorney, Richard Rice, fiercely defended his client’s actions, maintaining that “at the time of the shooting, she did feel like her life was in danger. In that type of situation, she should have a right to defend herself and defend her family.”
District Attorney Michael Jackson acknowledged that Dixon’s ordeal is a “tragic situation” but insisted that pursuing a murder charge to the grand jury is necessary because “somebody got killed.”
However, Angela J. Davis, a professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law, said that even if Jackson “has the evidence to get that indictment, the question is whether it’s the fair and right thing to do under the circumstances.” She also noted that Jackson has the “discretion to pursue something less [than a murder charge] or even to forego charges altogether.”
Even during this tumultuous time, Dixon's first priorities are her children and getting back to them.
"My primary concern is my children," she said. "I hope that the justice system will work as it is supposed to here. I need to be with my children because I am all that they have.”
This is not a murderous woman who is a danger to society. This is a loving mother who acted out of fear to protect herself and her family from harm. She does not deserve to rot behind bars for making a potentially life-saving split-second decision that so happened to result in someone else's death.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Getty Images, Darrin Klimek