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Trial over Florida State University professor's killing to start in October

 Charlie Adelson steps down from the courtroom  stand (February 28, 2023).
Anna Jones
WFSU Public Media
Charlie Adelson steps down from the courtroom stand (February 28, 2023).

Three people have been sentenced to prison for their roles in the killing of a Florida State University Law Professor. Now, his former brother-in-law will soon face trial. Charlie Adelson is the first member of the family to be arrested in the slaying of Dan Markel, and Adelson’s trial is now set to start in October.

For years, local law enforcement has suggested that the Adelson family was involved in orchestrating Dan Markel’s death, but only after FBI agents were able to decipher a 2016 undercover video, was the state able to bring charges against Charlie Adelson, the brother of Wendi Adelson, Markel’s ex-wife. The former couple was involved in a bitter custody dispute at the time of his death.

On July 18, 2014, Markel was shot and killed while sitting in his car in his Betton Hills garage. He had just returned from dropping his children off at their school and then going to the gym. Almost immediately, local law enforcement identified a vehicle that had been spotted pulling out of Markel’s driveway around that time: a 2008 Prius.

Officers traced the Prius to South Florida and to the people who had rented it—Luis Rivera and Sigfredo Garcia. Garcia and Rivera were friends, and Garcia is the former partner of Katherine Magbanua. The two have children together. Magbanua also dated Charlie Adelson.

In 2019 Garcia and Magbanua were tried together. During that trial, Garcia was convicted of being the triggerman. Rivera had already pled guilty to his role in the crime. However, a jury couldn’t decide on Magbanua’s circumstances and ended with a hung jury.

In May 2022, Magbanua was tried again and convicted for serving as what prosecutors have described as the “go-between” for Adelson, Garcia and Rivera. The newly deciphered FBI recording from 2016 played a role in Magbanua’s attorney’s requests for continuances.

The video, which was recorded by an undercover FBI agent, showed a meeting between Adelson and Magbanua at a restaurant called Dolce Vida in 2016. The two appeared to be discussing a potential blackmail situation. The FBI had previously attempted to ensnare Donna Adelson, the family matriarch, and the family was suspicious.

Adelson was arrested in April of last year. His trial is slated to start on October 23rd, after initially being set for next month.
Copyright 2023 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

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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