Fabiola Santiago

Fabiola Santiago: Facebook killer got verdict he deserved

Facebook killer Derek Medina is found guilty of second-degree murder on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015.
Facebook killer Derek Medina is found guilty of second-degree murder on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. wmichot@miamiherald.com

Until now, I had not written a word about him.

I wasn’t going to cater to a killer’s narcissistic lust for the limelight by giving Derek Medina more publicity.

As much as I wanted to denounce his heinous crime, I resisted the temptation when he murdered his wife two summers ago and announced it to the world, posting the picture of her bullet-riddled body on Facebook.

Throngs saw the post, shared, and inappropriately commented — expanding the sickening behavior, a low point for modern times. Medina earned the nickname “Facebook killer,” and since then, news producers and consumers have feasted on twists and turns of his antics and judicial fate.

It wasn’t easy, but I resisted the temptation to write during Medina’s trial in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. It was especially difficult when his lawyers laid out the preposterous defense that this tough guy killed to protect his own life. He emptied all eight bullets from his .380-caliber pistol on his wife because he was, not angry, but, oh, so afraid of a woman with less strength than he. She had a big knife, his lawyers claimed, although the home’s surveillance footage didn’t show her wielding one. He went upstairs to get his pistol and returned to the kitchen to shoot her. If he was scared, he certainly had time to leave.

It was a pretty iron-clad case, thanks to Medina’s infatuation with photos, video and social media, but with Florida jurors you never know what might get you off the hook. Medina’s behavior was so transparent that not even in “Stand Your Ground” crazy Florida did his woe-is-me defense fly.

He fared better with his haircut.

I didn’t think twice about not tweeting or re-tweeting his change of looks from bushy-haired wild man to clean-cut respectable professional for the trial. It was disappointing to see this non-story leading some newscasts one afternoon when there was so much real news to cover in the world.

Now, there’s finally justice.

A Miami-Dade jury delivered it on Wednesday with his conviction of second-degree murder, using a firearm, and child neglect since Alfonso’s 10-year-old daughter was in the house. The verdict represents not only justice for Medina’s wife, 26-year-old Jennifer Alfonso, and her family but also for a society where domestic violence, the not-so-silent-killer, has reached epidemic proportions.

It was a thoughtful guilty verdict in a state where sometimes it isn’t all that difficult to get away with murder.

Medina was the typical abuser who got angry when his wife said she wanted to leave him — then to further injure her, exploited her in death. Alfonso, according to her public conversations on Facebook, also was filled with anger at her spouse.

The only value of this story is in the cautionary tale for people who stay in abusive relationships.

They’re deadly.

Here’s hoping Derek Medina spends the rest of his life where he belongs — behind bars in obscurity.

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