South Carolina Supreme Court Upholds Murder Charge Dismissal

South Carolina’s Supreme Court recently ruled that a North Charleston woman legally used deadly force in 2012 when she fatally stabbed her boyfriend at their home. The ruling on May 18, 2016 helps clarify how South Carolina’s “stand your ground” law applies to domestic violence.

SC Supreme Court Asks Lawmakers To Help Them Understand Stand Your Ground

In October, 2014, a trial judge in Charleston dismissed a murder charge against 26-year-old Whitlee Jones, who claimed immunity from prosecution under the state’s Protection of Persons and Property Act. The law allows people in certain situations to use force when faced with serious injury.

Whitlee Jones (photo: Cannon Detention Center)
Whitlee Jones (photo: Cannon Detention Center)

                                   Whitlee Jones (photo: Cannon Detention Center)

Jones was the first of three North Charleston women charged with murder during a two-year span in the stabbing of a boyfriend or a roommate. Judges dismissed charges against all of them. Read the full story at postandcourier.com

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Facebook Killer Derek Medina Indicted, Claims Stand Your Ground

MIAMI, FL. (UPDATED December 4, 2013) – Derek Medina, a Miami man accused of killing his wife earlier this year, then posting a picture of her dead body on facebook, was indicted by a grand jury today on a new charge of 1st degree murder, according to a bill of information filed November 26. His attorneys plan to abuse er, use a stand your ground defense.

UPDATE: Facebook Killer Derek Medina Convicted

Derek Medina
Derek Medina

In this unusual twist to the usual “stand your ground” horror stories, Medina, 31, still in jail after a judge denied bond, pled not guilty earlier this year to all three charges of 2nd degree murder with a firearm, throwing a deadly missile, and child endangerment.

He claims he was a victim of spousal abuse by his wife, 26-year-old Jennifer Alfonso. Her friends reportedly say it was just the opposite, and that it was actually Alfonso who was the abuse victim.

Derek Medina and Jennifer Alfonso (facebook)
Derek Medina and Jennifer Alfonso

Medina claims the spousal abuse continued for years, including August 8, 2013 – the day he took Alfonso’s life. He claims she was mad because he had not woke her up in time for a date night, started throwing things at him, verbally threatening him, and finally pulled out a kitchen knife.

Medina claims he then managed to get the knife from her, put it back in a kitchen drawer, and, when Alfonso continued to hit him, he pulled out his .380 caliber gun and fired “six or seven” times, leaving the young woman dead on the kitchen floor. Alfonso’s 10 year-old daughter from a previous marriage was in the house during the shooting.

In a series of photos taken by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office eight days after his arrest, minor bruises are visible on Medina’s tattooed arm. It’s unknown why police waited over a week to take these evidence photos.
Derek Medina 'Injury'3
Derek Medina “injuries” (photos released by Miami-Dade State Atty. Office)

He said he posted messages and the photo of the crime scene on each of their facebook pages to let both their families know what he had done, so they would be prepared to take care of her daughter after his crime.

The shocking, grisly photo of Alfonso bent back at the knees, wearing black stretch pants and a black top, with bloody face and arms, immediately went viral on facebook, but was later taken down. The photo is available but will not be posted here out of respect for the deceased woman’s family.

medina's facebook post
Medina’s facebook post
Derek Medina facebook page
Derek Medina facebook page

An autopsy discovered Alfonso had defensive wounds, and was shot at point-blank range from a higher angle, implicating she may have been kneeling. “The victim was very low to the  ground at the time she was shot,” Detective Jonathan Grossman  testified at a bail hearing. “The victim appeared to  be in a cowering position.”

Medina reportedly called and confessed the crime to his boss after the incident, then stopped by an aunt’s house to say goodbye, before showing up at a Miami police station hours later with his dad. He has reportedly told police, “I don’t feel that I’m guilty, and I feel like this was self-defense.”

More than 40 subpoenas have been issued in connection with the case. A status hearing is set for January 29, 2014, and he is due to enter a plea on the new charge of 1st degree murder on March 6. The trial hearing is set for March 17.

Facebook killer Derek Medina murder scene surveillance video released by Miami-Dade state Attorney’s office (courtesy Miami Herald)

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Happy Thanksgiving! Marissa Alexander Free On Bond

Marissa Alexander, a Florida mom who fired a warning shot at an abusive husband, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, only to be granted a new trial, is free on bond and home with family – in time for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Marissa Alexander
Marissa Alexander

After a bond hearing, Alexander – who has served almost three years of the sentence handed down in 2010, was released on three bonds – one for each of her charges for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon – totalling $200,000 – just before midnight. She is under house arrest.

State Attorney General Angela Corey released a statement earlier this month stating that her office “will continue to seek justice for our two child victims and their father who were endangered by the shot the defendant fired at them.”

Supporters had hoped that Corey would drop the case against the 33 year-old mother of three who had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband. Her sentencing produced an uproar by women’s rights groups and she became an iconic symbol for those against domestic violence.

Alexander was released with special conditions, according to court records, most not unlike any other felony case.

She will be under supervision of the Pretrial Services Program (PSP) with electronic monitoring on house arrest, and is not allowed to leave her home except for medical emergencies, court appearances, or request by the PSP.

Of course, Alexander is ordered (again) not to have any contact whatsoever with Rico Gray or his two boys. Since she is still going through divorce proceedings, all orders pertaining to those proceedings will be facilitated by an unnamed third party.

Alexander is not allowed to possess or be near any firearms, cannot consume any alcohol or drugs, and is subject to random drug testing and warrantless searches.

She was granted a new trial in September, then moved from state prison to Duval County in October. However, the judge at that time only granted a new trial date of March 31, 2014, but denied her bond, disappointing supporters.

Marissa Alexander and daughter
Marissa Alexander and daughter

This Movement to End Stand Your Ground supports the movement to free Marissa Alexander and celebrates her release on bond, since her case exemplifies misapplication of stand your ground laws. Based upon the case history, it would appear that Alexander originally would have deserved to have been granted immunity from prosecution under Florida’s stand your ground law, but she was denied immunity.

Happy Thanksgiving, Marissa!
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