MIAMI -- Derek Medina, the South Miami man who fatally shot his wife and posted a photo of her bloody body on Facebook, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder.
Prosecutors last week, in a long-expected move, presented Medina’s case to a grand jury, which indicted the 31-year-old for first-degree murder.
He is now eligible for the death penalty, although a prosecutor told the judge Wednesday that the office has not determined whether they will seek execution for the August killing of Jennifer Alfonso, 27.
Medina shocked South Florida when he shot Alfonso after a heated argument in their South Miami townhouse kitchen, then immediately posted a photo of her body along with an admission that started: “I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife.’’
Miami-Dade police initially charged him with second-degree murder with a firearm, but it was long expected that prosecutors would elevate the charge, indicating they believe the killing was premeditated.
The state attorney’s office has released an autopsy report that suggested Alfonso may have been on her knees trying to shield her face as he repeatedly shot her at point-blank range. Medina also admitted that he left the kitchen, went upstairs, retrieved a firearm and re-engaged his wife inside the kitchen.
Medina’s lawyers have acknowledged that he shot Alfonso, saying he was merely defending himself after years of psychological abuse from a “diva” wife who constantly belittled him.
In a videotaped sworn statement to police, Medina insisted he was acting in self-defense because Alfonso, who was unarmed, “kept on punching me like crazy,” near his temple or neck. Medina also claimed he posted the photo so that Alfonso’s family would immediately know about the killing.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny set a March trial date, although that could be pushed back if lawyers need more time to prepare their case.