Miami-Dade County

Facebook killer’s defense experts take the stand

Derek Medina on trial for the murder of his wife, Thurs., Nov. 19, 2015.
Derek Medina on trial for the murder of his wife, Thurs., Nov. 19, 2015. wmichot@miamiherald.com

Trying to bolster their case for self-defense, lawyers for Facebook killer Derek Medina presented a battery of experts on Thursday, including a forensic pathologist who testified in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Dr. Michael Baden insisted that Medina’s slain wife, Jennifer Alfonso, was not kneeling when Medina shot her to death inside the kitchen of their South Miami townhome.

“She was standing and bent forward,” Baden told jurors on Thursday. “The right arm could be up, down, holding something, not holding something — I can’t tell.”

Medina, 33, shot and killed his wife during an argument, then posted a photo of her body on Facebook — an act that drew worldwide headlines. Medina’s defense lawyers say Alfonso was lunging toward him with a knife, forcing him to fire.

But according to prosecutors, Medina shot the unarmed Alfonso as she cowered on her knees, an analysis presented a day earlier by the county’s deputy medical examiner.

On Thursday, prosecutors hit back during cross-examination, noting Baden had not personally examined Alfonso’s body. They also questioned Baden’s claim that Medina was being attacked with a knife.

“The defendant had no lacerations on his hands, correct?” asked prosecutor J. Scott Dunn.

“That’s correct,” said Baden, a retired forensic pathologist who also consulted on the high-profile police shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The defense also presented Benjamin Tisa, a former FBI agent and use of force expert.

Tisa, who has trained police officers for almost 40 years, said a knife “would be an assaultive action that would require a defensive action.”

But he admitted that Medina’s gun — which he brandished before she drew the knife — could be interpreted as a threat as well.

Medina told police that he disarmed Alfonso of the knife before shooting her after she continued punching him in the chest and near the temple.

The trial continues on Friday.

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