A woman who allegedly helped plan the murder of a law professor will face trial again more than two years after her case was dropped. Katherine Magbanua faces jurors in Leon County, Florida once again in Dan Markelis murder. You can watch in the player above.
Florida State University law professor Markel was found shot dead in 2014, killed as he walked into his garage in Tallahassee, Florida. Prosecutors have suggested that her former brother-in-law Charlie Adelson planned the murder after Markel had a horrific divorce from Charlie’s sister Wendi Adelson. The Adelsons would have liked Markel’s children to be with the mother.
Authorities eventually charged two killers as well as Magbanua, the woman who allegedly linked Charlie to the killers.
She recruited Sifredo Garcia, the father of her children, to commit the act, prosecutors said. Garcia in turn recruited Luis Rivera as a replacement, authorities said. However, Rivera ended up accepting a plea deal in exchange for testifying against Magbanua and Garcia in their joint trial in 2019.
Magbanua, who denied any involvement in the murder and having had direct knowledge of it, testified that Garcia hated Charlies Adelson. Garcia defense attorney Saam Zangeneh also said Garcia loved his “wife,” so it made no sense for him to help her new boyfriend Adelson commit murder.
Magbanua Lawyer Taga Namat Kawass told jurors his client was guilty of one thing: having “awful taste in men.” Magbanua had kicked Garcia out of their apartment for drinking, infidelity, and involvement in cocaine. Kawass maintained that his client stayed in contact with Garcia because he was the father of their children, but he stalked her and Adelson and threatened to run them over with a truck.
Magbanua’s and Garcia’s defense teams argued that Rivera lied to investigators for a plea deal. Garcia was sentenced. Magbanua is to be retried after jurors in the first trial deadlocked in her case.
Neither Adelson was initially charged and they denied any wrongdoing, but the other shoe was dropped for Charlie last month when a grand jury charged him with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder. Charlies can be heard in “new audio” from the Dulce Vida restaurant in Miami, authorities said.
“This is the new evidence,” said the prosecutor of the 2nd Judicial District Jack Campbell said in comments reported by the Tallahassee Democrat after Adelson’s indictment. “We were able to hear things from the Dulce video that we weren’t able to hear until this latest enhancement. We never stopped working on it and appreciate the efforts of all of our partners in charge of the ‘law application.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
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