Exclusive: New Twist In So-Called “Facebook Murder” Case
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new twist in the case of the South Miami man accused of killing his wife and then posting pictures of her dead body on Facebook.
On Tuesday, lawyers for Derek Medina filed paperwork which indicated there were bath salts found inside Medina’s home.
According to the paperwork, Medina’s wife Jennifer Alfonso, hid bath salt pills in a jar labelled as garlic supplements.
“The defense’s independent lab confirmed that the capsules are Alpha PVP, commonly known as synthetic ecstasy,” according to the defense motion.
Experts said bath salts can cause agitation, anxiety, anger, paranoia, or panic, just to name a few side effects. In this case, Medina, the accused killer, said the victim, his wife, was hitting him. Surveillance video from inside their home shows her hitting him.
Medina’s attorneys are calling for additional testing to see if illegal drugs, specifically bath salts, were in the victim’s system.
“It’s a cursory look into something that could potentially be substantial,” said defense attorney Saam Zangeneh. “It’s got the appeal that if we can connect the dots, it could be substantial in the outcome of this case.”
Another new piece of information, is what defense attorneys say is a surveillance picture of the victim going into the medicine cabinet in the kitchen where the bottle and pills were on the night of the murder. Medina’s defense teams hope this will be enough new information to prompt the judge to allow for a fresh look.
“I think the judge is going to have to grant our motion to give us an opportunity to do some independent testing,” said Zangeneh.
Last December, Medina, 31, entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of first degree murder. Medina claims he told police he shot his wife on August 8th in self-defense.
The photo posted on Facebook showed Alfonso, 26, on her knees with her torso bent back on the kitchen floor. It was posted along with the following statement that appeared to be a confession by Medina.
“I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife. Love you guys. Miss you guys. Take care. Facebook people you’ll see me in the news… my wife was punching me and I’m not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did. Hope u understand me.”
After the shooting, Medina went to the South Miami Police Department and told them he had shot his wife.
In the statement to investigators after the incident, Medina said he shot Alfonso because she had threatened him with a knife and wouldn’t stop hitting him. He said it started with an argument in the bedroom and then moved to the kitchen.
According to Medina’s statement to investigators, as the couple argued, Alfonso began punching him again. Medina stated he went upstairs, got his gun and then went back to the kitchen where he found Alfonso holding a knife. Medina said she threatened him.
“She said you’re not going to kill me, at first. Then she says I’m going to kill you, you know, you pulling that gun on me,” according to his arrest report.
Medina said he grabbed the knife out of her hand and put it in a drawer.
“She kept punching me like crazy again and then I fired,” said Medina, according to the report.
“She just started throwing punches like crazy. She was like really attacking me. Like I was getting out of the way and got hit in the arm and she was like going for my temple. I felt like she was, you know, she was trying just to take me out. She head butt me. And then also she does make threats upstairs about me dying and she hopes I die, and that she’ll get someone to kill me, whatever it is. And she did make those threats upstairs.”
Forensic evidence indicates Alfonso was on her knees with one arm raised in front of her before she was shot, according to Miami-Dade Detective Jonathan Grossman.
Medina said after the shooting, he went upstairs, put the gun in a closet and then told his stepdaughter to stay there, close her door and don’t come down stairs. He said he then went downstairs and took a picture of Alfonso’s body and locked the door.
When asked why he took the picture and posted it on Facebook, Medina replied to help his stepdaughter.
“So the family would know and be notified and they could rush over there and get my stepdaughter.”
When asked why he turned himself in at the police department after the shooting, Medina replied
“Cause I’m not a killer. And it was self-defense. I’m very, I honor my country, I honor my state, I honor my city of South Miami. I do not feel that I’m guilty. This was self-defense.”
A tentative trial date has been set for March 17th.