Tallahassee Police Chief Mike DeLeo says his department isn't finished investigating the 2014 murder of a Florida State University Law professor. TPD got a big step closer to that Thursday when a suspect was arrested in South Florida. But law enforcement is staying largely silent on the connection between Sigfredo Garcia and Dan Markel.
Garcia appeared before a Broward County judge for the first time Thursday morning amid confusion on whether he has a lawyer.
"I didn’t know I needed an attorney until yesterday," Garcia told Judge Mary Rudd Robinson. "You didn’t know you had a warrant for murder?" She asked. Garcia replied, "No ma’m.”
He is charged with murder in the case of Dan Markel. The Florida State University Law Professor died two years ago after being shot in the head in his car, which was parked in the garage of his Betton Hills home. Law enforcement has said Markel was targeted, and the case has frustrated police. Last year the Tallahassee Police Department released more information on a vehicle they believed may have been used.
“This is still an active criminal investigation," TPD Police Chief Mike DeLeo told reporters Thursday. "In order not to jeopardize this ongoing investigation the probable cause in this case has been sealed by Judge [Jonathan] Sjostrom. This will limit the information that we provide today. I ask for your patience as we continue to move forward with this investigation. We are not finished yet.”
TPD held a press conference after Garcia's first court appearance. The FBI also helped with the case. But aside from acknowledging the arrest, law enforcement is being silent on any connections between Garcia and Markel, as well as a possible motive and whether more arrests could follow. They also wouldn’t comment on whether the case involved murder-for-hire, a theory that’s been circulating during the past few years.
Garcia was picked up in Hallandale Beach. Documents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show Garcia's record that spans 34 pages, with more than 20 arrests. There are charges for drugs and burglary, resisting arrest and failures to appear.
“This has affected all of us here in our community," said TPD spokesman Northway, "anytime someone is injured or murdered, it affects us all. It’s an atrocity and should not be happening in or community. It does bring us satisfaction, but it doesn’t take away the horror of losing a family member.”
The case grabbed national and even international attention. Markel was Canadian. Major questions remain unanswered. But those will have to wait. Documents in the case are sealed. Garcia will be extradited to Leon County, but neither the Broward nor Leon County Sheriffs Department would say when that will happen, citing “security concerns”.
UPDATE 3:30 pm: Two years on, information remains thin in the murder of former Florida State University professor Dan Markel. But police have arrested a suspect in south Florida.
The Hallandale police department has arrested in Sigfredo Garcia in connection with the 2014 murder of Dan Markel. Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo says the investigation and arrest required the cooperation of multiple agencies.
“The state attorney approved a probable cause affidavit for him yesterday evening and TPD obtained an arrest warrant,” DeLeo explained, “Mr. Garcia was located by the Hallandale police department in Broward County and taken into custody. He is currently in the Broward County jail awaiting a first appearance hearing and extradition to Leon County.”
But the police were mum on how officers made a connection between Garcia and the 2014 homicide. They also wouldn’t comment on whether more arrests are coming, or if the case is a murder-for-hire as has been speculated.
Officials say the investigation is ongoing and a Leon county judge has sealed the case for the time being.
Original Story: Police have made an arrest in connection with the 2014 death of FSU law professor Dan Markel.
According to the Tallahassee Police Department, Sigfredo Garcia, 34, was arrested Wednesday in Broward County.
Garcia is charged with first-degree murder and cocaine possession following his arrest by the Hallandale Police Department.
Tallahassee Police have scheduled an 11:30 a.m. press conference.
View the timeline of the case below.