A Fort Lauderdale dentist has been charged in connection with the 2014 death of his former brother-in-law, a renowned Florida State University Law School professor.
Professor Daniel Markel was fatally shot in the head at his home on July 18, 2014, CNN has reported.
On Wednesday, Charles Adelson, Markel’s former brother-in-law, was indicted in Leon County on charges of first-degree murder; conspiracy to commit murder; and solicitation to commit murder, according to a grand jury indictment.
The indictment claims Adelson solicited two men, Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, in murdering Markel.
Rivera, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as part of a plea deal, was sentenced to 19 years in 2016, according to CNN affiliate WCTV. Garcia, who pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to life in prison in 2019, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. Leon County Court administrators wouldn’t immediately comment on the cases.
Katherine “Katie” Magbanua is also named in the grand jury indictment. She is facing the same charges as Adelson.
Back In 2016, investigators said Magbanua, Garcia’s ex-girlfriend, helped arrange the murder of Markel, who was in a bitter custody dispute with his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, CNN has reported.
At the time, Adelson and Magbanua were in a romantic relationship, Magbanua’s attorney said.
Tara Kawass, Magbanua’s defense attorney, told CNN Friday in 2019, Magbanua initially went to trial on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and solicitation to commit murder.
The state of Florida moved to join Gracia and Magbanua’s trials, Kawass said. The jury convicted Garcia of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. However, the jury could not agree on Magbanua’s case, resulting in a mistrial, Kawass told CNN.
Magbanua’s trial is scheduled to begin May 16, 2022, according to the Leon County Court. On Friday morning, she pleaded not guilty to all three charges listed against her in Wednesday’s indictment, Kawass said.
Prosecutors claim Magbanua was the only tie between Garcia, Rivera, and the Adelson family, according to Kawass.
Meanwhile, Kawass told CNN while Sigfredo Garcia and Charles Adelson met at some point, the two men “conspired behind her back” regarding Markel’s murder.
As for Charles Adelson, a grand jury has heard new audio which helped implicate him in the murder, according to Jack Campbell, state attorney for the 2nd judicial circuit court of Leon County, Florida.
“This recording includes statements by Charles Adelson which can be heard clearly for the first time,” his statement says. According to CNN affiliate WCTV, the FBI recorded a conversation between Adelson and Magbanua at a restaurant in 2016.
“The government has had the recording for six years and one day,” Magbanua’s attorneys Tara Kawass and Christopher DeCoste said in a statement to CNN Thursday. “Since then, they’ve done endless seances with different audio/video experts trying to hear voices from beyond. What you can hear – not what’s in their grossly inaccurate and inadmissible subtitles – is that Katherine Magbanua is innocent.”
Adelson was arrested at his home in South Florida on Thursday, according to a statement from Campbell. The grand jury indicted him on Wednesday and “he was taken into custody without incident,” he said.
“Charlie is innocent and the prosecutors have no new information that led to this arrest,” David Oscar Markus and Margot Moss, Adelson’s attorneys, told CNN. “The timing sure does stink, doesn’t it? On the eve of a long-awaited trial of Katie, this move has the smell of desperation.”
“The Markel Family is deeply grateful to the State Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and all members of law enforcement for their tireless pursuit of justice,” said a statement from Orin Snyder and Matt Benjamin, attorneys for the Markel family, obtained by CNN affiliate WTXL.
“Nearly eight years after Danny’s tragic murder, these dedicated public servants continue to fight to honor Danny’s memory and to hold accountable all those responsible for his horrific death. On behalf of Danny’s family and friends in the Tallahassee community and all over the world, thank you,” said the Markel family statement.
“Dr. Markel’s family, the Office of State Attorney, and the law-enforcement team behind this continuing investigation will not rest until justice is delivered to every person involved in this terrible crime,” said Campbell.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described how Garcia and Adelson first met.