MIAMI – A South Florida man was convicted of second-degree murder Wednesday in the death of his wife, who he claimed he shot in self-defence during a fight before posting a photo of her bloody body on Facebook.
The jury’s verdict came in the third week of the trial of Derek Medina in the August 2013 killing of 27-year-old Jennifer Alfonso. Medina told police in a videotaped statement he shot his wife during a fight in which she threatened him with a knife.
Medina, 33, faces up to life in prison.
Medina admitted in the statement taking a cellphone photo of his dead wife’s body and uploading it on Facebook, along with a posting that said he expected to go to prison but had to kill her because of years of physical abuse.
Prosecutors put on evidence indicating that Medina had vowed to kill Alfonso if she tried to leave him, which she told friends she planned to do.
“He planned to execute Jen, and he executed his plan,” prosecutor Leah Klein told jurors in a closing argument.
“He was angry and he wanted her dead.”
Trial testimony showed the couple began fighting in their upstairs bedroom because Medina had failed to wake up his wife early that morning to watch a movie, as he had promised. Investigators testified that Alfonso threw mascara containers and towels at Medina, who pointed a gun at her in the bedroom but did not fire.
In a text message to a friend that morning, Alfonso said she “felt like ripping his face off” and was “about to explode” because of Medina’s actions and added she just wanted more attention.
“I just want to spend time with him but I’m not going to beg,” she wrote shortly before her death.
Later, the altercation continued in the downstairs kitchen – some of it captured on one of the home’s interior surveillance cameras. Medina told police Alfonso pulled a large kitchen knife on him and that he was able to disarm her, then went back upstairs for the gun and shot his wife when she kept fighting.
“She was trying to take me out,” Medina said in the statement.
A medical examiner, however, testified that the eight shots were all fired downward toward Alfonso and that the position of her body on the kitchen floor indicated she had been cowering on her knees when killed.
Alfonso’s 10-year-old daughter was in the home at the time of the slaying. The girl was in an upstairs bedroom and did not witness the slaying.
Defence attorneys sought unsuccessfully to admit evidence they said indicated that Alfonso was a heavy drug abuser and had dabbled in some form of Satan worship.