Daniel Medina, who fatally shot his 26-year-old wife and uploaded a picture of her corpse onto Facebook aside a confession, now faces a first-degree murder charge and, if convicted, the death penalty.
Initially the state only charged Medina, who claimed he'd shot his wife out of self defense, with second degree murder. In Florida, a conviction of that crime has the capacity to impose a life sentence. But according to Miami court records, when Medina attends a Miami court hearing on Wednesday, he will face a much steeper charge -- and possible punishment.
The abrupt change marks the latest turn in a narrative that has merged the immediacy of social media with the brutality of murder, roiling the nation from California to New York, and focusing on this troubled 31-year-old who self-published a half-dozen books, posted scores of bizarre videos to YouTube, then shot to death his wife, Jennifer Alfonso.
The back-and-forth also represents how Medina reacted in the aftermath of his wife's killing. After shooting Alfonso, Medina wrote on Facebook:
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 it anymore with the abuse so I did what I did I hope you understand me"
Then he pulled back on what had happened that night, telling investigators in a sworn statement that she'd pulled a knife on him while they were inside their South Miami townhouse. He said he then returned the knife to the kitchen before shooting Alfonso.
But the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner depicted a much more chilling scenario, casting doubt on Medina's claims that he'd acted out of self defense. The report said Medina had repeatedly shot Alfonso at point-blank range, while she was on her knees before him, trying to shield her face.
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Originally, prosecutors charged Medina with second-degree murder, because the state needs the approval of a grand jury to impose first-degree murder charges. Medina pleaded not guilty, but admitted to one count of shooting a deadly missile and child neglect with great bodily harm.
A grand jury has issued an indictment, but it's not available yet. Medina's next court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Send your story tips to the author, Terrence McCoy.