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Magbanua Trial Day 4: Defense raises questions about the accuracy of cell phone records

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Prosecutors are hoping to use cell phone calls to draw a link between Katherine Magbanua, the Adelson family, and the shooters who killed Florida State Law Professor Dan Markel in 2014.

Magbanua's retrial resumed Monday. She’s accused of being the go-between for the family of Markel’s in-laws, and the people who killed him.

Magbanua’s defense attorneys question the accuracy of the cellphone data prosecutors are using to try to connect the dots. Attorney Chris DeCoste sought to cast uncertainty on the cellular towers investigators used to trace phone calls between Magbanua, convicted shooter Sigfredo Garcia, and Charlie Adelson—the man prosecutors say paid to kill Markel—on the days surrounding the murder.

“A phone could be serviced by a cell site for a certain activity. In a nutshell, it could be there, right?" DeCoste asked Tallahassee Police Seargent Chris Corbett.

"Yes, the handset could be at that particular address," he replied, to which DeCoste asked, "and you would agree that it also could not?"

"Correct," said Corbett.

Corbett previously said cellphone data shows Magbanua near the location of where the car used in the killing was rented, but officers don’t have access to the conversations that took place. Her defense has said Garcia and Adelson went behind Magbanua’s back and coordinated Markel’s killing. They presented messages showing Magbanua asking Adelson whether Garcia called his phone and highlight several incidents they say show Garcia as a jealous ex.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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