Criminal court

Victim in South Miami Facebook slaying not on hallucinogenic drugs, evidence shows

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

The wife shot dead in the notorious South Miami Facebook killing was not on hallucinogenic drugs at the time of the slaying, a newly released toxicology report shows.

The evidence delivers a blow to a defense strategy intended to portray Jennifer Alfonso, 26, as the aggressor in the confrontation that spurred her husband, Derek Medina, to fatally shoot her and post a photo of the bloody body on Facebook.

In January, Medina’s lawyers asked prosecutors to test Alfonso’s body for the presence of “bath salt” pills, or synthetic ecstasy. The defense claimed it found 10 bath salt pills hidden in a bottle inside a kitchen cabinet.

In court documents, his lawyers said whether Alfonso took the illegal drugs was “critical in support of the defendant’s defense.”

But the resulting Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s toxicology report showed Alfonso had no Alpha-PVP, the substance found in the pills, in her blood or urine. Earlier toxicology tests also showed no other behavior-altering narcotics in her system.

The only drug found in her system: the common over-the-counter pain killer ibuprofen.

One of Medina’s attorneys, Rick Yabor, said that while the state’s examination revealed no bath salts in her system, the issue is not over for the defense.

“We’re going to have our own expert do an examination,” Yabor said.

Medina shot and killed Alfonso during an argument in the kitchen of their South Miami town home. He then uploaded a photo of the body on his public Facebook page, and admitted to killing her in a post.

“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,” Medina posted.

Medina has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and faces life in prison if convicted. A Miami-Dade judge this week set an Oct. 14 trial date.

Prosecutors have called the slaying “an execution.” The 32-year-old Medina is claiming self-defense.

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

He told Miami-Dade homicide detectives that Alfonso, that morning, “kept on punching me like crazy” near his temple or neck.

But Miami-Dade prosecutors in court have noted that after Medina got into an argument with Alfonso in the kitchen, he left, went upstairs and retrieved a pistol before returning to confront her. Medina told detectives that he disarmed her of a kitchen knife and returned it to a kitchen drawer before firing six to eight times.

An autopsy report also suggested Alfonso may have been on her knees trying to shield her face as he repeatedly shot her at point-blank range.

“Bath salts” are variations of a dangerous designer drug that has become more prevalent in the past decade. They come in several forms, but generally contain synthetic chemicals similar to amphetamines. The chemical is said to induce agitation, hallucinations and paranoia. They were outlawed in 2012 through the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act.

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