MIAMI — A jury on Tuesday viewed a surveillance video depicting the final moments of a young wife’s life before she was fatally shot by her husband, who later posted a photo of her dead body on Facebook and insists he fired in self-defence.
The video, from one of several cameras at the couple’s South Miami home, shows no evidence that 27-year-old Jennifer Alfonso was physically attacking Derek Medina as he claims before he gunned her down in their kitchen in August 2013. But the video angle also does not capture everything that happened in the kitchen, nor the shooting itself.
Two police officers who dealt with Medina the day of the slaying testified that he never asked for medical attention and showed no evidence of physical injury. Medina told police in a videotaped statement played earlier in his trial that Alfonso regularly abused him and had been hitting and pushing him forcefully before the shooting.
“Did you observe any obvious signs of injury to Mr. Medina?” prosecutor J. Scott Dunn asked South Miami police Det. Matt Taylor, who drove Medina to the Miami-Dade Police Department for questioning shortly after the killing.
“No,” Taylor replied.
Earlier, police photos introduced as evidence showed no marks indicating any fight on Medina’s body or head and no cuts or scratches to his hands.
In the surveillance video, Alfonso is shown going in and out of the couple’s kitchen, at one point washing a few dishes and at another briefly opening and closing the townhouse’s front door. Medina comes into the kitchen and both are off camera, then he leaves and comes back — which is when the shooting happened.
Puffs of gunpowder can be seen swirling in the air around the camera. Medina then appears to use his cellphone to take the Facebook photo and leaves the house after changing clothes. He later turned himself in to police.
Medina said in his police statement that Alfonso came at him with a knife and that he was able to disarm her, then went upstairs to get his .380-calibre handgun. Alfonso was shot eight times.
“Is Jennifer seen attacking Derek as he went upstairs to retrieve the firearm he would eventually use to shoot her dead?” Dunn asked lead Miami-Dade police Det. Jonathan Grossman.
“No,” Grossman answered.
“She never left the kitchen alive after that, did she?” Dunn continued.
“No, she did not,” the detective said.
Prosecutors said Tuesday they are close to wrapping up their main case, after which the defence will begin putting on its witnesses. It’s not yet clear whether Medina will testify. He faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. He’s also charged with illegal discharge of a weapon and child neglect because Alfonso’s 10-year-old daughter was in the home when her mother was killed.