On Thursday, 31-year-old Derek Medina posted a status update on Facebook stating that he killed his 26-year-old wife, Jennifer Alfonso. Medina included a lifeless photo of a bloodied Alfonso and was eventually charged with first-degree murder. It turns out that Medina is also a self-published author of several self-helpish, pretty-insane-seeming books. Now, because the Internet is awful, netizens have turned reviews of his books and the photo of his dead wife into "jokes."
The whole story is pretty disturbing. Though Facebook has taken down Medina's page, the photo is still out there. It's the kind of picture that may give you nightmares. "I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys take care 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," Medina posted at 11:11 a.m., before posting the picture of Alfonso with the caption "RIP Jennifer Alonso." That raises obvious questions about Medina's criminality — but also about social media in our lives.
How I Saved Someone’s Life and Marriage and Family Problems Thru Communication, 42 pages, was published Feb. 2. In it he tells a story of a man who divorces and remarries the same woman -- Medina and Jennifer Alfonso had also divorced and remarried, before she was killed.
That doesn't quite seem like beach reading to us. Nor, for that matter, does this:
Attention World Save Yourself, 84 pages, was published April 23. "My goal is for the readers to realize what life they are living," he writes in the book's description. "Please understand why I write short novels. When it's an urgent message and a life threatening situation you expect the messages to be quick and fast. I hope these books touch your spirit."
Other titles include How I Saved Someone’s Life and Marriage and Family Problems Thru Communication and Humans Who Are Gifted and Can See the Supernatural Spirit Ghost World We Live in Called Ghost Haunted Adventures.
Over on the sites of Barnes and Noble and Amazon, people have begun penning reviews to those books. The sarcastic reviews morbidly reference the alleged murder:
In addition to the fascination with Medina's books, the Internet is now rife with doctored images of Alfonso's limp body doing the limbo and playing Twister (WARNING: Graphic), thanks to 4chan users.
These morbid parodies and fake reviews are not uncommon. North Korea's gulags, for one, have parody reviews. And when Canadian tourist Elisa Lam's body was found decomposing in a hotel's water tank earlier this year, people quickly started inundating the hotel's Yelp reviews. Medina's case is obviously a bit more twisted, but it's part of the same creepy trend.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.