Woman Cleared of Murder Charges After Victim’s Family Says She Shot in Self-Defense

There was never really any question about whether Jasmine Blake fired the shot that killed her husband, Louis Bryant in their Birmingham home on April 1, 2021. But was it murder or self-defense? 

Since her arrest, Blake asserted that she shot her husband to protect herself. The original media release by the Birmingham police referenced a “domestic-related altercation” that had taken place just before the shooting, but didn’t provide any details about the altercation, and prosecutors charged Blake with capital murder for Bryant’s death. 

Blake was supposed to stand trial last month, but in an unusual twist prosecutors dropped all charges after Bryant’s family went before a Jefferson County judge and backed up her claims.

“I was afraid I’d die that night,’’ Drake told AL.com. “I’d like to thank everyone who stood by my side and believed in me from Day 1.’’
“This situation has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with but by the grace of God, and with the support from my family and amazing lawyers, our justice system has finally proven my innocence,” Drake said.
Birmingham police responded at 4:30 a.m. that Thursday to a report of a person shot at 1516 Vanderbilt Road.
When they arrived on the scene, they found Bryant unresponsive. Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service attempted life-saving measures, but he was pronounced dead on the scene.
Drake was arrested several days later and released on $100,000 bond.
Her case was set to go to trial the week of April 15, 2024, but Bryant’s family members went to court and told Jefferson County Circuit Judge Alaric May that they believed Drake killed Bryant in self-defense.

Did Bryant’s family ever tell the prosecutors that they believed Blake’s self-defense claim? It seems odd that the family would only speak up now when she was charged in three years ago, but AL.com doesn’t give any background in what led to Bryant’s family providing their testimony to the judge. 

Regardless, after they informed May that they believed Drake was acting to defend herself when she shot her husband, the judge dismissed all charges with prejudice, which means Drake cannot be charged again. 

Drake has been working at a car dealership since her release on bond. She said her life has been forever changed.
“For so long, every aspect of my life was controlled by him and then the courts, to a certain extent,’’ she said. “I can now for the first time in a long time make my own decisions and that freedom feels so good.”
“Again, I’d like to thank God, my family and my amazing defense team,’’ Drake said. Without them, I couldn’t have made it through this extremely difficult time in my life.”
Drake said any woman in a domestic violence situation needs to leave.
“Don’t stay,’’ she said. “It doesn’t get better. It only gets worse.”

Jasmine Drake says her next goal is to get her kids back. They’ve been staying with family since Drake’s arrest, and now that she’s been cleared of all charges she’s looking forward to reuniting with her children and starting a new chapter in their lives.

I can’t imagine the ordeal that Drake has gone through over the past few years, much less the relief she must be feeling knowing that she no longer has the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty hanging over her head. She and her family will be forever changed by the events of April 1, 2021, but thanks to Bryant’s family and a judge willing to listen to their testimony, it looks like justice has been served.   



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