Day Eleven: Sigfredo Garcia Found Guilty, Mistrial For Magbanua In Markel Murder Trial

Oct 11, 2019

A Tallahassee jury says Sigfredo Garcia is guilty for his role in the 2014 murder of Florida State University Law Professor Dan Markel. But they couldn't reach a decision on his co-defendant and ex-girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua. 

Sigfredo Garcia speaking to his attorney Saam Zangeneh during the trial for FSU Professor Dan Markel in Tallahassee, Fl. on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019.
Credit Alicia Devine, Pool / Tallahassee Democrat

The trial for Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua has lasted three weeks. The two, along with a third man, Luis Rivera, are accused of carrying out a murder-for-hire plot against Markel. The state says the plot was planned by Markel's former in-laws and stemmed from a child custody fight between Markel and his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson. 

The jury came out with the verdict for Sigfredo Garcia Friday afternoon, finding him guilty on two of three charges - first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He will be sentenced Monday at 10 a.m. Garcia is the person accused of firing the shots that killed Markel while he sat in his car, garage in his Betton Hills home. 

As for Katherine Magbanua, the jury was undable to decide her innocence or guilt. 

Moments later the jury came back and decided they were hung. Judge James C. Hankinson then declared a mistrial and case management is set for Oct. 22, 2019, at 10 a.m. The state accuses Magbanua of being the go-between for Garcia and the Adelson family. She was dating Wendi Adelson's brother Charlie, at the time of Markel's death. 

Her attorney has argued Magbanua had nothing to do with the crime, only learned of it after the fact, and that the state's evidence against Magbanua is circumstantial at best. 

For now she will sit behind bars to wait for her next trial to be set. In the meantime, Garcia, the father of her kids, awaits to hear whether he will be sentenced to death.