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Day Five: Testimony In Markel Murder Trial Focuses On Ex-Wife's Family, The Adelsons

A woman in a gray suit and glasses sits in a courtroom
Tallahassee Democrat (pool)

Prosecutors in the murder trial for a slain Florida State University law professor are focusing on the ties between the people accused of killing him, and his ex-wife’s family. Markel was entangled in a bitter child custody fight at the time of his death. 

His ex-wife’s brother has been implicated in the crime, but not charged. In a recorded phone call to Charlie Adelson’s South Florida dentistry, employee Erika Johnson tells him police are asking about Katherine Magbanua.

“I’m in the back, they’re just waiting for me to come back,” Johnson tells Adelson. "Oh, and they want records?” he asks.

"Do me a favor, I’m going to call you from a landline on my cell phone.”

Two men in dark suits lean in to each other to speak, heads lowered.
Credit Tallahassee Democrat (pool)
Tallahassee Democrat (pool)
Sigredo Garcia speaks with his attorney during the murder trial for FSU Professor Dan Markel. He's the alleged shooter and could face the death penalty if convicted (October 3, 2019)

The state claims Magbanua is connected the Adelson's to her ex-boyfriend and alleged shooter Sigfredo  Garcia. The two are accused of carrying out a murder-for-hire plot against Markel which was planned by the Adelsons. A third man, Louis Rivera, pled guilty for his role in the crime, and says he received payment in the form of bills stapled together. Another former girlfriend, June Umchidna, says Adelson often stapled money. 

“Yes, I mentioned he had staples on the 100s before," she told prosecutors. 

Magbanua and Garcia face life in prison if convicted.