Courts

Video shows part of confrontation in Facebook murder case

 
 
Arraignment for Derek Medina, accused Facebook killer stands with attorneys Saam Zangeneh (left) and Rick Yabor (right) pleads not guilty in court Thursday, Aug., 29, 2013.
Arraignment for Derek Medina, accused Facebook killer stands with attorneys Saam Zangeneh (left) and Rick Yabor (right) pleads not guilty in court Thursday, Aug., 29, 2013.
WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Ever since Derek Medina was accused of murdering his wife and posting a photo of her body on Facebook, his family has insisted his South Miami home’s surveillance video depicted the woman as the aggressor.

But the video, obtained by the Miami Herald on Tuesday, fails to back up the claim.

While the video does not show the Aug. 8 shooting, the footage shows Medina, after a heated argument with his wife in the kitchen, walking away and returning. He told police he came back with a firearm, held just out of view.

The shooting of Jennifer Alfonso happens just off camera — but the footage shows a spine-chilling swirl of gunpowder in the air from the six to eight shots that felled Alfonso.

The footage shows a version of events consistent with Medina’s story to Miami-Dade police detectives, who believed he was the aggressor and arrested him on a murder charge. The footage also shows Medina calmly retrieving a jacket and his phone, apparently stopping to snap a photo of Alfonso’s body before walking out of the townhome.

Medina, 31, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder with a firearm. He is likely to be indicted for first-degree murder in the coming weeks.

Miami-Dade prosecutors on Tuesday released the security-camera footage, as well as Alfonso’s diary — in which she frets about a zombie apocalypse, bemoans her stormy relationship with Medina, and writes about wanting to “rip his eyes right out” after he ogled other women.

“We have the strangest relationship, to me anyway,” she wrote in a Dec. 27 entry. “We get angry at each other for the stupidest things.”

Medina stunned South Florida when he posted on Facebook a photo of Alfonso’s bloody body, bent backwards, lying on the tiled kitchen floor. Alfonso’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship was upstairs at the time and was not harmed.

Medina, a security guard, admitted to police that he posted the photo and an admission that he had killed his wife on his public Facebook page before calling police, according to court documents. He walked into the South Miami police station and surrendered.

“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,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Medina also wrote: “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.”

At the request of law enforcement, Facebook removed Medina’s and Alfonso’s Facebook pages hours after the shooting.

Miami-Dade homicide detectives seized the home-security footage, along with several other weapons and evidence. One interior camera was aimed at the front door, while another pointed at a sliding glass door, with a corner of the kitchen visible.

The morning of the killing, the second camera — which has a time stamp more than three hours behind real time — captures Alfonso calmly washing dishes, going in and out of the kitchen.

But the couple had been squabbling since they woke up. At about 10 a.m., according to a Miami-Dade police arrest report, Alfonso was upstairs, and Medina pointed his .380-caliber pistol at her.

Alfonso said “she was leaving him,” according to the arrest report. The video, which has no sound, shows her returning to the kitchen.

Medina, wearing a tank top and sporting several days’ worth of stubble, walks into the kitchen. At one point, Medina backs up suddenly — he told Miami-Dade detectives that Alfonso “began punching several times with a closed fist.”

But if Medina was scared for his life, he did not leave the townhome. Instead, the video shows he leaves the kitchen. Police say Medina went upstairs and grabbed his pistol again.

Moments later, the footage shows, Medina returns. The final confrontation is off-screen. Police say Medina claimed that as he pointed the weapon at Alfonso, she grabbed a knife. Medina told police he disarmed her and put the knife back in the drawer, and that she responded with a punch. On the video, Medina’s head is seen flinching backward.

Then, a cloud of particles flashes before the screen, the telltale sign of the gunfire.

Medina walks away. Moments later, the video shows him calmly walking back, his phone in his hand, pausing in the entrance of the kitchen, looking at her body. Police believe that’s when he took the now-infamous photo.

He walks away again then returns, putting on a long-sleeved jacket over his tank top. He pauses one last time to look at the body.

The other camera angles show Medina, unfazed by the killing, calmly walk out of the front door, stopping to zip up his jacket.

The back of his jacket reads: “Writers Rock,” an apparent reference to the rambling, self-published books Medina penned in the months before his arrest.

About an hour later, the video shows police officers bursting through the door, guns drawn. They immediately see Alfonso’s body in the kitchen. Paramedics are called in. She cannot be revived.

It was a violent end for a young, unhappy mother who grappled with a tempestuous relationship. Alfonso, a Denny’s waitress, had married Medina, then divorced him. But they reconciled.

Her diary, titled “The mind of an insane women,” was taken by police into evidence. It shows a woman torn between her love for Medina and their constant arguments. “This is our first weekend in the new house,” she wrote on May 22, 2012. “It’s beautiful.”

But she acknowledges her mood swings. “God knows we’ve had our ups and downs. I’ve had my fair share of crazy bitch moments, like when I thought he was having an affair,” she wrote. “He didn’t even do anything out of the ordinary. He was just being Derek and one day I woke up and said, you [know] what, I think he’s cheating on me.”

“When we love each other it’s GREAT. But when we hate each other we HATE each other.”

In one undated entry, Alfonso wrote she found herself “uncontrollably jealous, like want to murder type deal,” after she believed he was looking at other women when they were shopping.

For defense attorneys, the diary could be used to paint Alfonso as the aggressor — although whether the diary, apparently penned well before the killing, would be admissible as evidence before a jury remains to be seen.

Her diary also reveals a woman struggling with her confidence. She vows to exercise more, lose weight, eat healthier, and keep her house neater. She also discusses her interest in the supernatural — she and Medina shared a love of ghosts and other mysteries.

In the journal, she wrote about last year’s bizarre attack in downtown Miami in which a young partygoer gnawed off a homeless man’s face “like a f--king snack.” Alfonso also believed their new South Miami townhome held bad spirits.

“I feel something here with us. I can’t tell if ‘its’ good or bad,” she wrote. “But it doesn’t feel good. Last night, a lot of negative thoughts and memories plagued my mind and I started crying.”

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

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