Criminal court

Accused Facebook killer Derek Medina denied bail after all-day hearing

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Lawyers at the Tuesday bond hearing for Derek Medina painted two very different portraits of the man accused in the notorious Facebook slaying of his wife.

Prosecutors described him as a brutal killer, a skilled amateur fighter who opted to use a pistol to fell his angry wife — years after once claiming he would kill her if she tried to leave him.

“This was an execution,” Miami-Dade prosecutor J. Scott Dunn told a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge on Tuesday. “Mr. Medina executed his wife because she said she was going to leave him.”

Defense lawyers portrayed Medina as a psychologically bruised victim, the husband of a “diva” who brooded about hurting him and called him “the woman” in their relationship.

“Battered spouse syndrome,” defense lawyer Saam Zangeneh told the court. “It doesn’t only apply to women.”

After a daylong hearing, Judge Yvonne Colodny rejected requests for bond, ordering the 31-year-old to remain behind bars pending trial on charges of shooting Jennifer Alonso, 27, in their South Miami townhouse in August.

Medina, who drew worldwide notoriety for posting a photo of her bloody body on Facebook, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder with a firearm.

In a videotaped sworn statement to police, released to the media last week, Medina insisted he was acting in self-defense because Alfonso “kept on punching me like crazy,” near his temple or neck.

Medina also claimed he posted the photo so that Alfonso’s family would immediately know about the killing.

The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office last week also released an autopsy report that suggested Alfonso may have been on her knees trying to shield her face as he repeatedly shot her at point-blank range.

“The victim appeared to be in a cowering position,” Miami-Dade Detective Jonathan Grossman testified Tuesday. The detective, the lead investigator on the case, was the chief witness in Tuesday’s hearing.

Grossman testified Tuesday that Medina once told Alfonso’s ex-boyfriend, Gabriel Viera, that he would kill her if she tried leaving him or cheated on him. “He didn’t think he was serious,” Grossman said of Viera.

During a heated argument that morning, Alfonso angrily told Medina that she was going to leave him, the detective told the court. Not long after, Medina confronted her in the kitchen and she began hitting him.

However, Judge Colodny noted, Medina “re-engaged” Alfonso by going upstairs, retrieving his firearm and returning.

Medina told detectives that he disarmed her of a kitchen knife and returned it to a kitchen drawer before firing six to eight times. A blood spatter expert also determined that blood in the kitchen flew upward from Medina’s body close to the ground.

Grossman also talked about Medina’s physical prowess, recalling an interview with a martial arts instructor who Medina once challenged to a match. Medina survived one round with the man, unscathed.

For prosecutors, Medina’s fighting ability is a key because they could argue that, in using a firearm, he used disproportionate force in responding to Alfonso’s blows.

Defense attorney Zangeneh grilled the detective on bruises noted on Medina’s chest and arm, as well as Alfonso’s own diary, entitled “The Mind of An Insane Woman.” In one passage, Alfonso wrote in broken syntax that jealousy of Medina’s wandering eyes made her feel “like want to murder type deal.”

Zangeneh, who is representing Medina with Mauricio Padilla and Rick Yabor, said his client was the victim.

He said that a patron at Denny’s, who was friends with Alfonso at her waitressing job, told the defense team that the woman acknowledged abusing her husband.

“She’s taking the next step. She’s the aggressor in this case,” Zangeneh said. “She physically and psychologically assaulted Derek that day.”

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