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Hearing For Suspect In Facebook Murder Case Pushed Back

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A hearing scheduled Wednesday for the South Miami man accused of killing his wife and then posting pictures of her body on Facebook has been pushed back.

During the court proceeding, it was brought up that Derek Medina's attorney had filed a motion Tuesday which indicated there were bath salts found inside the couple's home.  Medina's defense now wants to investigate whether she may have been under the influence of the synthetic drug the day she was killed.  The prosecutor told the judge the state needed more time to prepare for this new motion.  The judge set a new hearing date of March 17th.

Medina, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the August killing of 26-year-old Jennifer Alfonso. Medina's attorneys say he acted in self-defense.

According to the paperwork filed Tuesday, Alfonso hid bath salt pills in a jar labelled as garlic supplements.

"The defense's independent lab confirmed that the capsules are Alpha PVP, commonly known as synthetic ecstasy," according to the defense motion.

Experts said bath salts can cause agitation, anxiety, anger, paranoia, or panic, just to name a few side effects. In this case, Medina said his wife was hitting him and surveillance video from inside their home shows her hitting him.

Medina's attorneys are calling for additional testing to see if illegal drugs, specifically bath salts, were in the victim's system.

"It's a cursory look into something that could potentially be substantial," said defense attorney Saam Zangeneh. "It's got the appeal that if we can connect the dots, it could be substantial in the outcome of this case."

Another new piece of information is what defense attorneys say is a surveillance picture of Alfonso going into the medicine cabinet in the kitchen where the bottle and pills were on the night of the murder.  Medina's defense teams hope this will be enough new information to prompt the judge to allow for a fresh look.

"I think the judge is going to have to grant our motion to give us an opportunity to do some independent testing," said Zangeneh.

Prosecutors have not yet announced whether they will seek the death penalty if Medina is convicted.

Police have testified that Medina told friends he would kill Alfonso if she ever cheated or threatened to leave. Medina told police she had threatened to leave him that day.

Medina is being held without bail. Trial is tentatively set for March 17.


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