New Trial Begins for Dan Markel Murder Case

May 14, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Violent Crimes

Dan Markel, a law professor at FSU, was shot and killed in his driveway in Betton Hills in July of 2014. Although it has been almost eight years since the murder, there was just a recent arrest made and an upcoming retrial.

Prosecutors believe that the killing was a murder-for-hire plot, in which Sigfredo Garcia was the alleged shooter. Garcia was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy, resulting in a life sentence in prison.

Now Garcia’s former girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, is set for a retrial due to her involvement in the murder. Police believed she conspired with the Adelson family to kill Markel over a custody battle.

We will cover the most recent arrest, the upcoming retrial, and the newest piece of evidence which may be the key factor in ending the case.

Charlie Adelson’s Arrest

Charlie Adelson is the former brother-in-law of Markel and has just been taken into custody for the murder, nearly eight years later. After a new video was released with a conversation between Adelson and Magbanua, a grand jury indictment was issued in Leon County for his arrest. Adelson is now being charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and solicitation to commit murder. To find more about solicitation and conspiracy and their charges, you can find our blog post here.

Adelson is now the fourth person to be charged with a connection to Markel’s murder. Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman announced Adelson’s arrest, providing the comment: “We will not rest until everyone involved is brought to justice.”

Retrial for Magbanua

Monday, May 16th, 2022 will begin the retrial of Katherine Magbanua for her involvement with Dan Markel’s murder. Her original case ended in a mistrial in 2019. The mistrial was announced when the jury could not decide on the verdict during the trial. Magbanua and accused gunman Garcia were tried together, and the third co-defendant, Luis Rivera, testified against them after opting for a plea deal. Garcia was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy in July of 2014. 

The retrial was originally scheduled for April 2020, but repeatedly got pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Magbanua requested to be released from jail to wait for the trial but was denied her request.

Authorities believe that Magbanua conspired with Adelson and Garcia to kill Markel. The believed motive behind the murder was to end a custody battle. Now with the arrest and indictment of Charlie Adelson, it is unclear how it will impact the upcoming retrial for Magbanua, based on her involvement in the new video evidence that has been released. 

New Video Evidence Released

In February of 2022, there was once again a pushback in the retrial date. An FBI recording was recovered from a restaurant in Miami, which supposedly holds an important conversation between Magbanua and Adelson. An audio forensics expert has been tasked with enhancing the audio.

Now in the upcoming trial starting Monday, the jury will be able to listen to the uncovered recording. The video shows Magbanua and Adelson in the restaurant Dolce Vita in 2016. Prosecution sought to introduce the video with subtitles outlining the conversation authenticated by their own expert over the defense team’s objection. The court refused to have added subtitles or transcripts made of the video, as the defense argued that they were inaccurate and misleading. Ultimately, the court found that the expert in question was in no better position than the jury to authenticate the conversation recorded. However, prosecutors are saying the video is what led to Adelson’s arrest on April 20th.

You can find the full transcripts provided by the State Attorney’s Office here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, it is important to prioritize finding the right legal help. Navigating through criminal charges can be extremely stressful, especially trying to do it on your own. At Pumphrey Law Firm, we guarantee top-quality defense for your case. Don Pumphrey and his team understand the importance of strategizing a strong defense and are prepared to stand in your corner and fight for your freedom. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

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