Day Ten: Attorneys Present Closing Arguments In Dan Markel Murder Trial

Oct 10, 2019

Katherine Magbanua speaks with her attorney during the trial. She's charged with first degree murder for her alleged role in the death of FSU law professor Dan Markel.
Credit Alicia Devine, Pool / Tallahassee Democrat

Closing arguments are being heard in the Dan Markel murder trial.

The FSU law professor was shot to death in the garage of his midtown Tallahassee home five years ago.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman spent the morning laying out a case against Markel’s former in-laws and their connection to the defendants, Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua.

“It’s relevant for you to understand the role all these people played, the motive for this crime, in order for make a determination about the guilt of the two folks who are on trial here today," she told jurors.

The attorney for alleged shooter Sigfredo Garcia says the state’s case against his client hinges on the testimony of a man that took a plea deal to save his own skin. And the defense for Garcia’s former-girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, maintains the real culprits aren’t even in the courtroom.

The state alleges this was a murder for hire and that family members of Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, were behind it.

“She said she’s the personal assistant to Charlie Adelson or was the personal assistant. I don’t know what that entails, but why would the Adelson Institute be paying her?” asked prosecutor Georgia Cappleman, referring to Magbanua working for Charlie Adelson, Markel’s former brother-in-law. “The Adelson Institute is a separate entity. Mr. Adelson travels from office to office as a freelance periodontist. Why wouldn’t he pay his own personal assistant? Why is Donna Adelson writing checks out of the Adelson Institute account for Katherine Magbanua?”

Cappleman spent much of the morning reviewing financial records of the defendants and showing phone records tying the suspects to certain locations and to each other.

Magbanua is accused of being the go between for the Adelsons, Garcia (the accused shooter), and Luis Rivera. Rivera pleaded guilty and is cooperating with investigators.