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Day Five: Testimony In Markel Murder Trial Focuses On Ex-Wife's Family, The Adelsons

Katherine Magbanua listens to testimony in the murder trial for FSU Professor Dan Markel. She's accused of helping facilite his death in a murder-for-hire. If convicted, Magbanua faces life in prison (October 3, 2019)
Tallahassee Democrat (pool)
Katherine Magbanua listens to testimony in the murder trial for FSU Professor Dan Markel. She's accused of helping facilite his death in a murder-for-hire. If convicted, Magbanua faces life in prison (October 3, 2019)

Prosecutors in the murder trial for a slain Florida State University law professor are focusing on the ties between the people accused of killing him, and his ex-wife’s family. Markel was entangled in a bitter child custody fight at the time of his death. 

Katherine Magbanua listens to testimony in the murder trial for FSU Professor Dan Markel. She's accused of helping facilite his death in a murder-for-hire. If convicted, Magbanua faces life in prison (October 3, 2019)
Credit Tallahassee Democrat (pool)
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Tallahassee Democrat (pool)
Katherine Magbanua listens to testimony in the murder trial for FSU Professor Dan Markel. She's accused of helping facilite his death in a murder-for-hire. If convicted, Magbanua faces life in prison (October 3, 2019)

His ex-wife’s brother has been implicated in the crime, but not charged. In a recorded phone call to Charlie Adelson’s South Florida dentistry, employee Erika Johnson tells him police are asking about Katherine Magbanua.

“I’m in the back, they’re just waiting for me to come back,” Johnson tells Adelson. "Oh, and they want records?” he asks.

"Do me a favor, I’m going to call you from a landline on my cell phone.”

Sigredo Garcia speaks with his attorney during the murder trial for FSU Professor Dan Markel. He's the alleged shooter and could face the death penalty if convicted (October 3, 2019)
Credit Tallahassee Democrat (pool)
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Tallahassee Democrat (pool)
Sigredo Garcia speaks with his attorney during the murder trial for FSU Professor Dan Markel. He's the alleged shooter and could face the death penalty if convicted (October 3, 2019)

The state claims Magbanua is connected the Adelson's to her ex-boyfriend and alleged shooter Sigfredo  Garcia. The two are accused of carrying out a murder-for-hire plot against Markel which was planned by the Adelsons. A third man, Louis Rivera, pled guilty for his role in the crime, and says he received payment in the form of bills stapled together. Another former girlfriend, June Umchidna, says Adelson often stapled money. 

“Yes, I mentioned he had staples on the 100s before," she told prosecutors. 

Magbanua and Garcia face life in prison if convicted. 

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.
Lynn Hatter has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative.
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