A woman who allegedly helped plan a law professor’s assassination will stand trial again more than two years after a mistrial. Katherine Magbanua faces jurors in Leon County, Florida, once again in Dan Markel‘s murder. You can watch in the player above.
Markel–a law professor at Florida State University–was found shot to death in 2014, killed as he pulled into his garage in Tallahassee, Florida. Prosecutors suggested that his former brother-in-law Charlie Adelson planned the killing after Markel had an ugly divorce with Charlie’s sister Wendi Adelson. The Adelsons allegedly wanted Markel’s kids to be with the mother.
Authorities eventually charged two assassins as well as Magbanua, the woman who allegedly linked Charlie with the killers.
She recruited Sigfredo Garcia, the father of her children, to carry out the act, prosecutors said. Garcia in turn recruited Luis Rivera for backup, authorities said. Rivera ended up taking a plea deal in exchange for testifying against both Magbanua and Garcia at their joint trial in 2019, however.
Sigfredo Garcia, and Katherine Magbanua.
Magbanua, who denied involvement in the killing and to having firsthand knowledge of it, testified that Garcia hated Charlies Adelson. Garcia defense lawyer Saam Zangeneh also said that Garcia loved his “wifey,” so it made no sense that he would help her new boyfriend Adelson commit murder.
Magbanua attorney Taga Namat Kawass told jurors that her client was guilty of one thing: having “horrible taste in men.” Magbanua had kicked Garcia out of their apartment for drinking, infidelity, and involvement in cocaine. Kawass maintained that her client remained 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.
Both Magbanua and Garcia defense teams maintained Rivera lied to investigators for a plea deal. Garcia was convicted. Magbanua has to be retried again after jurors in the first trial reached deadlock in her case.
None of the Adelsons were initially charged, and they have denied wrongdoing, but the other shoe dropped for Charlie last month, when a grand jury indicted him for 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.
Charlie Adelson appears in a Broward County Fla. Sheriff’s Office mugshot.
“That’s the new evidence,” State Attorney for the 2nd Judicial District Jack Campbell said in comments reported by the Tallahassee Democrat after Adelson was indicted. “We’ve been able to hear things from the Dulce video that we weren’t able to hear until this most recent enhancement. We’ve never stopped working it and we appreciate the efforts of all of our law enforcement partners.”
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
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