Derek Medina had a lot to say, and a lot of showing off to do. But no one seemed to listen, and no one took notice.
Until Medina, 31, forced the world to pay attention.
The South Miami man, who documented much of his life with online photos and videos, posted on Facebook a ghastly picture of his wife, Jennifer Alfonso, 26, shot dead on their kitchen floor on Aug. 8.
“Facebook people you’ll see me in the news,” Medina posted to his 164 Internet friends.
By the time the site removed the bloody, disturbing photo several hours later, hundreds had shared it, thousands more had viewed it, and Medina — in police custody after turning himself in — finally had people talking about him.
“I don’t know what was up with all the Facebook and YouTube stuff, it was all too much,” said Joe, an acquaintance who met Medina and Alfonso through mutual friends and said he didn’t want his last name published because of possible repercussions to his family. “I finally had to take him off my Facebook page. He’s just a very strange person.”
Medina, shackled and wearing a red inmate jumpsuit, sat in silence during a brief court hearing Friday, when his attorneys asked a Miami-Dade judge for permission to photograph him in jail. They likely are looking for cuts, bruises and other signs that could back self-defense claims by Medina, who wrote on Facebook after the killing that Alfonso “was punching me and I’m not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did.”
Medina’s father, Derek Ian Medina, said his son, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, was “scared” of Alfonso, who was slender and stood about 5-foot-7. The father said she “pushed him to the point of insanity.”
The younger Medina told police that the shooting happened after a heated argument during which Alfonso said she was leaving him. He also said he recently installed a video-security system in their home that should have captured the incident.
If Alfonso had a violent side, it wasn’t apparent to her co-workers and regular customers at Denny’s on South Dixie Highway in Coral Gables, where she worked an 11 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift most weekends.
“We would say, ‘Let’s go see Jennifer,’ not, ‘Let’s go to Denny’s,’” said Louis Schwartz, who sat in Alfonso’s section two or three times a week with his wife or his 89-year-old mother, ordering build-your-own Grand Slam meals. “She had a certain glow to her. A beautiful person. She really loved her daughter and always talked about her family.”
Isabella, Alfonso’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, was upstairs in the home when Medina allegedly shot her mother six to eight times on the kitchen floor. Medina left Isabella in the townhouse, alone with her dead mother, when he went to tell his father and police what happened; investigators said the girl was uninjured when they found her.
It is unclear if Isabella will live with her father, whose first name is Gabriel, or with Alfonso’s mother and stepfather, Carolyn and Rohan Knox.
Alfonso seemed happy lately in her relationship with Medina, according to her friends, family and fellow servers. They originally met when Medina was a customer at Alfonso’s old Denny’s, on Bird Road near 87th Avenue. She spoke of their date nights together, and her husband sometimes came into the restaurant to pick her up after a shift.