SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. (AP) — The South Florida man who authorities say killed his 26-year-old wife and apparently posted a photo of her corpse on Facebook told residents of his townhouse complex that he possessed a concealed weapon permit and belonged to a neighborhood watch patrol.
Derek Medina, 31, turned himself in to police on Thursday after Jennifer Alfonso was fatally shot inside the couple’s home in South Miami, a suburb of Miami. When officers responded to the home, they found Alfonso’s body, as well as her 10-year-old daughter, who was unharmed.
Medina was charged with first-degree murder and ordered held without bond at his arraignment Friday.
The public defender’s office was appointed to represent Medina, who initially appeared confused when an attorney instructed him not to discuss the case with anyone.
Medina’s case captured national attention when he posted a public confession of the alleged murder on his Facebook page, followed by a gruesome photo.
“Im going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys, miss you guys takecare Facebook people you will see me in the news,” said the Thursday morning post.
The photo showed what was apparently Alfonso’s body, slumped on the floor.
One of Medina’s neighbors, 33-year-old Yoshi Dade, said Medina approached him more than a year ago while Dade was working out at the apartment complex. Dade said Medina told him he was the neighborhood watch patrol for the building and that he had a concealed weapons permit. Those claims could not be confirmed immediately.
“He would walk around here and kinda patrol the area. He was always telling me there was a lot of stuff going on around here,” Dade said.
He said he thought the incident was bizarre and had only a few other interactions with Medina after that.
“He was just different,” Dade said.
Other neighbors said Medina was very private and never said hello.
Lori Wilkinson saw the couple and their daughter several times at the apartment’s pool and mailbox and said they seemed like a nice family.
A neighbor who only identified herself as Sylvia said she was shocked.
“I couldn’t sleep last night. I kept thinking of her,” Sylvia said, although she said she did not know the couple.
According to the affidavit, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Medina said the couple became involved in a heated argument in an upstairs bedroom when he armed himself with a gun and pointed it at her. He said Alfonso left the bedroom, returning later to say she was leaving him. He says he went downstairs and confronted her in the kitchen, when she began punching him. He claims he went back upstairs to get his gun and confronted her again, at which time she grabbed a knife. Medina said he was able to disarm her and put the knife in a drawer, but that when she began punching him again, he shot her several times, the affidavit says.
The post about the slaying on a Facebook page identified as Medina’s went out to friends at 11:11 .a.m. Thursday.
The post claimed that his wife was punching him and that he wasn’t going to stand any more abuse. YouTube videos linked to his Facebook page earlier this week, however, show him working out in a martial arts studio, punching and kicking a heavy bag.
The next and final post — also at 11:11 a.m. and titled “Rip Jennifer Alfonso” — was a gruesome photograph showing a woman in black leotards slumped on the floor. She looked like she had fallen backward from a kneeling position, with her legs bent to her sides and blood on her left arm and left cheek. The photo was up for more than five hours before Facebook removed the page late Thursday afternoon.
Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said in an email to The Associated Press that she could not comment on a law enforcement investigation but could provide a general comment from the company.
“The content was reported to us,” Feinberg wrote. “We took action on the profile — removing the content and disabling the profile, and we reached out to law enforcement. We take action on all content that violates our terms, which are clearly laid out on our site.”
Police declined comment on the Facebook posts and said they would have no statements on the case at this time.
Public records show that Medina and Alfonso first married in January 2010, divorced in February 2012 and then remarried three months later. Medina bought the condominium unit where the couple lived in March 2012 for $107,000.
On his Facebook page, Medina claimed to be a supervisor at a property management company and to have appeared in the Miami-based crime drama “Burn Notice,” though his name doesn’t appear in online credits for the show.
On a personal blog to which the Miami Herald linked, someone named Derek Medina touted e-books of his on subjects ranging from saving marriage through communication to “humans who are gifted and can see the supernatural spirit ghost world we live in.”
“The author was with his wife in New York and his wife was attacked by a ghost,” he writes, describing the e-book. “She was seeing a ghost and was being taunted and messed with. She informed her husband and he told her to go to sleep and he would watch over her. Minutes later he was attacked by a demon ghost and he was sick and throwing up.”
Photos posted by Medina on Wednesday show the family enjoying a meal alongside an unnamed marina and lounging beside a swimming pool.
Police said in the arrest affidavit that Medina never called 911, only turning himself in to police after going to see family and confessing.
Thursday night, police had taped off the area around the condo complex where the couple lived. The complex is made up of peach-colored townhomes with faded wood roofs.
Several cars filled the parking area in front of the townhouses as police questioned neighbors and possibly friends of the victim. Some of those gathered were crying.
Neighbor Phil Eby said he didn’t know the couple very well but expressed surprise at the shooting.
“I met him a couple of times. He seemed like a pretty nice guy,” Eby said. “But I don’t remember her at all.”
It wasn’t immediately clear if Medina had an attorney.
A company official for The Gables Club, a gated, upscale condominium complex in Coral Gables, said Friday that Medina worked there “briefly,” but declined to elaborate on when or why he left the job.
A maintenance worker, who would not give his name, said he had seen Medina working at the front desk, taking care of calls and the tenants. He said was “a very nice guy, polite.”
When he saw the news this morning and Medina’s picture, the worker said, “It can’t be. He’s too nice.”