Day Two: Wendi Adelson Testifies In Murder Trial For Her Slain Ex-Husband Dan Markel

Sep 29, 2019

The second day of testimony in the murder trial of Florida State University Professor Dan Markel featured Wendi Adelson, his ex-wife. She confirms the two were entangled in a custody battle over their two children prior to Markel’s death.

Wendi Adelson, Dan Markel's ex-wife, takes the stand Friday, September 27, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida, during the murder trial for Markel's death.
Credit Alicia Devine, Pool / Tallahassee Democrat

The prosecution of Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia focuses on the connections between them and the Adelson family. According to the state,  Magbanua was dating Wendi Adelson’s brother, Charlie Adelson. Prosecutors say Magbanua and Garcia were hired by Charlie and his mother Donna. Yet no one from that family has been charged in the case. Wendi Adelson took the stand Friday as part of a deal with the state that grants her some immunity. But Judge James C. Hankinson says Wendi Adelson’s deal does not save her from being prosecuted for crimes she may have been involved in.

"She does not have transactional immunity," explained Hankinson. "That means she could be prosecuted for the crimes involved but what she said cannot be used against her nor used for any leads to develop any information."

Leon County Circuit Court Judge James C. Hankinson speaking to the court Friday, September 27, 2019, in Tallahassee Florida during the murder trial for Markel's death.
Credit Ashley Devine, Pool / Tallahassee Democrat

When asked how she understood her immunity, Adelson responded, "the state isn't going to arrest me," with a chuckle.

Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman questioned Adelson about the timeline of events concerning when Adelson moved to Miami, and about attempts she made to move while Markel was alive.

"And you mentioned that you did develop a desire to move to South Florida. Did you file a motion to that effect on January 14th, 2014?"

"I did file a motion. I don’t remember the exact date, but that sounds about right," answered Adelson.

"And in that motion did you make some allegations that Mr. Markel was making things difficult for you at work?" asked Cappleman.

"I did," Adelson replied.

"And was that motion granted or denied?" asked Cappleman.

"That motion was denied," answered Wendi.

"And were you upset about being stuck in Tallahassee?" questioned Cappleman.

"I was relieved," said Adelson.

"You were relieved? You wanted to stay in Tallahassee?" asked Cappleman.

"I was happy at my job," answered Adelson.

Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman giving opening statements Thursday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida, during the murder trial for Markel's death.
Credit Ashley Devine, Pool / Tallahassee Democrat

Cappleman then turned her questions to the Adelson family and inquired about when Wendi Adelson found out about a protective order Markel filed asking for Donna Adelson, Wendi’s mother, to have restricted access to his children.

"And the motion to preclude your mom from having unsupervised contact with your kids--that was still pending at the time of his murder correct?" asked Cappleman.

"That’s possible. I mean I don’t think anyone took that motion very seriously," said Adelson.

"Did your mom take it seriously?" asked Cappleman.

"I don’t think so," responded Adelson.

"Did Dan Markel take it seriously?" asked Cappleman

"I don’t know how Danny felt about a motion," answered Adelson. "If he wrote the motion he was probably taking it seriously."

When asked if her family liked or disliked Markel, Wendi Adelson said they had problems with him after the divorce. Cappleman then raised questions about remarks made by Adelson’s brother, Charlie.

"Did he ever joke about he looked into hiring a hitman but buying you a TV as a divorce present would be cheaper?" asked Cappleman.

"He did make that joke," Adelson responded. "He tended to repeat himself and sometimes he would make jokes that weren’t very funny about all kinds of things."

The trial picks back up Tuesday.  Luis Rivera, the one who helped investigators crack open the case after taking a plea deal, is expected to testify.