The body of Derek Medina’s wife posted on Facebook
The couple had come through some rocky times together but it seemed that, despite their problems, they were always drawn back to each other. They’d married in 2010 and divorced two years later, but within months, the couple had remarried. Derek and Jennifer lived in South Miami with Jennifer’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
Amateur boxer Derek had done some brief acting work as an extra but played up the roles. He also considered himself to be a relationship guru and had written eBooks about marriage.
A grizzly image
Ironically, his own marriage was in crisis again. On August 8, 2013, the day started badly. Derek had promised to wake up waitress Jennifer so they could watch a film together, but he hadn’t. They got into a fight where Jennifer threw make-up and towels at her husband. Disturbingly, Derek pointed a gun at Jennifer, but he didn’t fire it.
Jennifer was distraught and texted a friend saying she “felt like ripping his face off” and she was “about to explode” because all she really wanted was his attention.
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“I just want to spend time with him but I’m not going to beg,” she wrote, expressing worry that perhaps she should leave him.
Internal home surveillance cameras captured Jennifer going about her day and washing a few dishes in the kitchen, but the angle meant it missed what happened next. The argument between Derek and Jennifer continued in the kitchen while Jennifer’s daughter was in her bedroom, oblivious.
Then Derek went upstairs and fetched his gun before returning and firing eight bullets into his wife. With Jennifer dead on the kitchen floor, Derek pulled out his mobile and took a photo of her bloodied corpse slumped in the corner of the room.
He uploaded it to Facebook, writing, “I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys take care Facebook people you will see me in the news. My wife was punching me and I am not going to stand any more with the abuse so I did what I did I hope u understand me.”
Derek then changed his clothes and left the house, leaving Jennifer’s daughter upstairs.
Quickly, Derek and Jennifer’s Facebook friends started to see the grizzly image.
“That’s my friend,” someone wrote. “What happened?” asked another. The post was viewed thousands of times and was shared by strangers.
It was so graphic many didn’t believe it was true. But Derek handed himself into police and when they arrived at the home, Jennifer’s body was there, just like in the image.
Thankfully, Jennifer’s daughter hadn’t realised her mother was dead downstairs and was escorted out of the house under a blanket. After five hours, the Facebook post was taken down.
While being questioned, Derek admitted taking the photo of Jennifer and making it public, but claimed he was the real victim.
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Derek said he’d suffered abuse from his wife for years. He claimed Jennifer had come at him with a large kitchen knife and he’d shot her defending himself.
“She was trying to take me out,” he said.
Suddenly Derek’s decision to tell the world what he’d done made sense; he’d started to justify the killing as self-defence before her body was even cold, by planting the seed that Jennifer was violent.
At the trial in November 2015, Derek pleaded not guilty to murder. He didn’t take the stand but his legal teams tried to say that Jennifer “worshipped the devil” and was on drugs that she hid in jars of garlic supplements. They’d demanded a toxicology report but it showed nothing in Jennifer’s body but ibuprofen.
Prosecutors said Derek had vowed to kill his wife if she tried to leave him. They dismissed his claim that his actions were self-defence. Derek was a 6ft tall boxer and could have easily overpowered 5ft 6in Jennifer without going to get a gun and shooting her eight times.
A medical expert testified that all eight bullets were fired downwards at Jennifer while she was cowering on her knees, completely cornered. Her arm was raised in a desperate attempt to protect herself.
“He planned to execute Jen, and he executed his plan,” they said. “He was angry and wanted her dead.”
The footage from the house didn’t capture the shooting but it also showed no evidence of Jennifer attacking Derek. He didn’t have a single scratch on him.
“She was wonderful…”
Derek was found guilty of second-degree murder. He was also found guilty of child neglect after leaving his step-daughter when he handed himself into police. Jennifer’s mother burst into tears at the verdict. Derek showed no emotion.
At the sentencing in February this year, Jennifer’s mum Carolyn Knox had a chance to speak about her daughter.
“She wasn’t just a body on the floor to be discovered. She was a wonderful, amazing person. She had so much to give and now that’s gone.”
Jennifer’s father Jose Alfonso expressed his anger that her character had been discredited.
“The notion that my daughter was violent or abusive is an insult to me and my family,” he said. “That’s a fantasy that he created.”
Derek made a rambling statement urging President Obama to fight corruption and said he would appeal.
“I didn’t get a fair trial,” he said. “God knows the truth and nothing further.”
The judge gave Derek the maximum sentence of 25 years before parole. She referred to Derek’s Facebook post on the day he killed his wife.
“You foretold your future,” she said. “You wrote on Facebook that “I am going to prison”, and that is where you will be going.”
Jennifer’s image remains circulating on the Internet causing pain for her young daughter. All Jennifer wanted was attention from her husband but, instead, he displayed her to the world like a macabre trophy.
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