Could Florida Let ‘Facebook Wife Killer’ Get Off Like Zimmerman?

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Derek Medina from his Facebook.

The George Zimmerman acquittal last month raised big questions about Florida’s controversial self-defense laws and who could or could not get off for killing a person.

This raises the question: Could the claim of domestic violence help Derek Medina’s defense?

Derek Medina, the “Facebook Wife Killer,” posted a confession on his Facebook yesterday to the killing of his wife, Jennifer Alfonso:

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. my wife was punching me and I am not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did I hope u understand me.

The quote was followed by Medina posting a grisly picture of his dead and contorted wife. She had been shot multiple times.

We called William Umansky, a prominent criminal defense attorney in Orlando, Florida, to talk about self-defense and the Medina case.

Umansky had read about the case and was still baffled by it when we talked to him. As a defendant, he said, Medina would be in “a lot of trouble.”

He seemed doubtful that Medina could get off on self-defense like George Zimmerman did in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman and Martin appear to have been more comparable in stature then the photographs of Medina and Alfonso suggest, which Umansky thinks would make it harder for Medina to prove he was facing a serious enough threat to use deadly force.

This looks especially doubtful when you consider that Medina, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, reportedly participated in MMA training. (The MMA training is another eery parallel to the Zimmerman case. Both men were MMA trained, both neighborhood watchmen, both in Florida, both “white Hispanic,” and within two years in age.)

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However, Medina’s claim that that, “my wife was punching me and I am not going to stand anymore with the abuse,” could prompt a defense attorney to go through the hoops of trying to determine if there was a history of abuse between the two. According to Umansky, this would entail searching for signs of physical abuse that could have been inflicted during the night of the killing, any criminal records or police reports from the couple that would have suggested a history of abuse, or a psychological evaluation to determine if Medina has “repetitive abuse syndrome.”

Because killing a person by itself usually requires some sort of mental imbalance, it begs the question, what kind of person kills his wife and then posts it to Facebook? With this in mind we asked if an insanity plea would be another way a defense attorney could try to get Medina off. Umansky told us that if Medina was trying to get off by reason of insanity, his defense attorney would have to prove that Medina could not determine right from wrong at the time of the killing or if Medina had a history of mental health issues.

Umansky thinks that ultimately the Medina case comes down to the question of why he posted the event and evidence on Facebook. Not surprisingly, the Facebook confession could be a damning piece of evidence in a courtroom. If Medina had given the confession to the police, Umansky explained, then it would have been possible to get it thrown out if he was not read his Miranda rights. However, because he posted it in public, it’s admissible in court and will be very hard for a defense attorney to combat.

Will Medina get off for the confessed slaying of his wife? It’s very very unlikely even though the Facebook post confession is definitely the act of an insane person.

You can read the affidavit below, which reports that Alfonso was punching Medina, and not threatening him with a deadly weapon, when he shot her multiple times.

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