After fatally shooting his wife during a heated argument, Derek Medina insisted to police that he posted a photo of the bloody body on his Facebook page out of a twisted sense of compassion.
“So the family would know and be notified and they could rush over there and get my stepdaughter,” Medina told Miami-Dade detectives in a video-taped sworn statement released Friday as part of his criminal case.
His wife Jennifer Alfonso’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship remained upstairs, unharmed — at least physically.
Medina, calmly and with no hint of remorse, told detectives that Jennifer Alfonso, unarmed and punching him around the neck, posed a lethal threat after he disarmed her of a knife during a tussle in the kitchen of their South Miami townhouse. He insisted he was in fear for his life because “she kept on punching me like crazy.”
Why did he turn himself in?
“Cause I’m not a killer. And it was self-defense,” Medina told detectives in a rambling, often disjointed statement taken in an interrogation room hours after surrendering. “I’m very … I honor my country. I honor my state. I honored my city of South Miami. I do not feel that I’m guilty and I feel like … this was self-defense.”
Prosecutors released Medina’s statement after the Miami Herald made a public records request several weeks ago. His defense attorneys had asked a judge not to release the video statement, but at a hearing on Friday afternoon, they withdrew their objection.
Defense lawyer Mauricio Padilla said after Friday’s hearing: “He obviously speaks about his defense in this case, and the actual video speaks for itself.”
In a case that has drawn widespread notoriety in a social media-addicted world, Medina 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.
The release of the video-taped statement came one day after the state attorney’s office released an autopsy report that suggested Alfonso, 27, may have been on her knees trying to shield her face as Medina repeatedly shot her at point-blank range in the couple’s small kitchen on Aug. 8.
The medical examiner’s report revealed she had defensive wounds on her left forearm and was shot at a steep angle, with one bullet entering her chin and lodging itself in the back of her ribs.
Medina, 31, posted the photo of Alfonso’s body on his Facebook page and also wrote a statement that started, “I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife.’’
In his video interrogation, Medina constantly ripped Alfonso, saying she had abused him and had been suicidal in the past. Just before he was sworn in, Medina told detectives that she had been a heavy drug user.
Medina admitted the two began arguing that morning in their upstairs bedroom after she grew angry because he did not wake her up. As they argued, she began throwing towels, mascara, boxes and shoes at him, Medina told police.
He claimed that those objects were weapons.
“And then I pulled out my weapon. And then I told her, hey, back off or I’m going to call the cops,” he said.
Alfonso screamed that she was going to leave him and went downstairs. He followed her to the kitchen, where he claimed he saw her with a knife. “She was, like, had it toward her, like she was going to commit suicide,” he told Miami-Dade detectives Jonathan Grossman and James Hatzis.
Medina said he disarmed her and put the knife back in the kitchen drawer, but she attacked him again.
“She was repeatedly punching me, and punching me to get to my temple or my neck,” Medina said. “She was getting close to my neck.”
Medina also claimed that even after he shot her, she continued to “lunge” at him, before she dropped to the floor. Medina then dressed, told his stepdaughter to stay in the room, snapped the photo and left for an aunt’s house, he said. Then, he surrendered.
The detectives asked several questions seemingly aimed at knocking down a claim that he had to resort to using a lethal weapon to defend himself. In one exchange, when Grossman asked Medina about his career as an “amateur boxer,” Medina proudly confirmed he was 25-0 in matches.