Police Release Videotape Of Wendi Adelson Learning Of Husband’s Murder

1405809806000-Dan-Markelarticle-2708745-1FE31D6900000578-378_306x423The evidence continues to surface in the police investigation of a Florida State Law Professor and leading blogger.  Over two years ago, the law professor Dan Markel was murdered. There has been no arrests in the case, but considerable circumstantial evidence has  cast suspicions on the family of his ex-wife and fellow professor Wendi Adelson. Much of this suspicion has been drawn to Adelson’s brother and that suspicion has been magnified with a new and bizarre disclosure that Charlie Adelson paid for half of a breast enhancement surgery for the girlfriend of one of the accused killers.  Now the heart-wrenching videotape of Wendi Adelson being told of Markel’s death has been released with some particularly odd elements like a prior joke by Charlie about hiring an assassin to kill Markel.

Adelson and Markel married in 2006 when she was a third-year law student at the University of Miami and he was a criminal law professor at FSU. They later found themselves in a highly acrimonious divorce.

Sigfredo-Garcia-Luis-Rivera-300x174Police say that Garcia and Rivera were “enlisted” to kill Markel in connection with his divorce from Adelson. Police traced a rental to the scene of the crime.

Adelson has gone public with her own account and said that she is being unfairly targeted by sensational media.  However, police have focused on Charles Adelson, his mother Donna Adelson, and a woman named Katherine Magbanua. Magbanua is the mother of two children with Sigfredo Garcia. Police say that she spoke more than 2,000 times to Garcia in the weeks leading up to the slaying. She also was dated Adelson when Markel was killed and worked at the family’s South Florida dental office. Prosecutors say Charlie Adelson paid for half of a $6,000 to $7,000 breast implant surgery done by Dr. Leonard Roudner, also known as “Dr. Boobner.” That surgery occurred notably in October 2014, roughly three months after Markel’s killing. Police sought the medical records despite the insistence of Charlie Adelson’s lawyer that it was “a fishing expedition.” The court did not see it that way and granted the subpoena to confirm the surgery and payments.

The videotape is very emotional and at times bizarre.

In the 2014 interview, the detective tells her “That’s what this is about. There was a shooting at your home, or your ex-husband’s home. [He] has been taken to the hospital. He’s not going to survive.”  Adelson bursts into tears and exclaims  “Oh, my God,” Adelson says, sobbing throughout. “What happened. …I just don’t understand? How could this happen?”

Wendi tells the detective “I’m scared. I don’t know why this would happen . . .  It really scares me because, I mean, if there’s someone out there that’s willing to do this to him. … I’m scared for the kids.”

Given the focus on her brother, a couple of statements stand out.  She says that she is “scared someone maybe did this – not because they hate Danny but because they thought this was good somehow.”  She then admits that her brother joked with her earlier that day about how a television might be cheaper than a hit man to deal with the problems in her life.

“And I was talking to him about whether it made sense to pay to fix it or I should get a new one,” she said. “And it was always his joke that, like, he knew that Danny treated me badly, and it was always his joke, he said, I looked into hiring a hit man but it was cheaper to get you this TV.”


She then repeated the joke with a repair man.

“[H]e’s my big brother, and he’s been taking care of me since I was little,” she continued. “But he would never – and I told that to the repair guy that this morning. He asked me how much it cost, and I said I didn’t know because it was a gift because my brother said it was cheaper than a hit-man. It was my divorce present. Such a horrible thing to say. I’m so, so sorry.”

She emphasizes that, while she was allegedly abused, no one would kill Markel: “But even my family who felt like I had been mistreated would never do something like this. Never.”


Adelson did not improve things for her family later in openly discussing her fear that a family member killed her estranged husband.  According to news reports, she told a victim’s advocate about her mother’s surprise reaction: “My parents sounded really surprised, so that’s at least a relief. I’m just trying to think who would be angry enough to do something to him. My parents would be angry, but they’re not capable of this. Thank God. I really couldn’t handle that right now.”

If Adelson knew, she is the most calculating conspirator I have ever seen.  Conversely, if she did not know, these comments only serve to confirm that she also thinks the most likely suspects would be in her own family.  They are comments that could pose a serious problem for any family members charged in the case.  If Adelson were to take the stand, she repeatedly worried out loud about someone acting to protect her and specifically raised her family as a primary concern.


What do you think?

23 thoughts on “Police Release Videotape Of Wendi Adelson Learning Of Husband’s Murder”

  1. A truly superb performance by Wendi Adelson. There should be Emmy awards in these criminal cases. She’s one of the best actresses I’ve seen in some time. Not only that, but she soon immediately shifted back to her regular self, and then, on cue, when the discussion turned to the murder, she went into her sad state. If she has not taken extensive acting lessons, she surely knows a thing or two about method acting, and there’s a career for her in either acting or in teaching acting. She’s a true pro.

    1. Here’s Bryce Dallas Howard doing her best cry on cue, but you can clearly see above that Wendi Adelson’s is the stronger, more authentic performance. Bryce is good, but Wendi’s a true master of the art.

  2. Adelson has gone public with her own account and said that she is being unfairly targeted by sensational media.

    No she hasn’t. She took a writing class which incorporated oral presentations and student critiques. The professor put audio files of her classes online (IIRC, for the convenience of those enrolled), where the media found them. Each family member has issued a general denial via legal counsel. Otherwise, they’ve said nothing to anyone but police.

    1. Further evidence that she doesn’t have the training or instincts of a lawyer. She shouldn’t have said or written a word, except to her attorneys.

      1. she doesn’t have the training or instincts of a lawyer.

        You think she got her law degree and law license out of a Cracker-Jack box?

        One piece she wrote is a paean to her mother. Another concerned her husband, but there weren’t any hot items in it.

        1. There weren’t any hot items in the piece she wrote about her husband? Other than that she never had any “love or passion” for him, and took the “easy way out” by marrying and older, established man. And then she got predictably bored with him and wanted out of the marriage. Yeah, that’s really what you want to write when you’re a suspect in your ex’s murder. Pass the Cracker Jacks, please.

          1. It doesn’t have any bearing on the criminal case. That she was dissatisfied with her married life has been known to all and sundry for 4 years.

  3. I’ve been following this case and the quantum of electronic data and eyewitness testimony they have against Messrs. Garcia and Rivera is impressive. I cannot imagine they’ll get off.

    As for the Adelsons, they’ll not live this down unless they’re tried and gin up a plausible alternative scenario or law enforcement itself discovers and pursues an alternate explanation which is plausible and does not implicate them. As of now, they’re all one-degree-of-separation from two men who were stalking Prof. Markel in a vehicle identical to one seen leaving the murder scene, and they’re the only people anyone knows of who had any kind of motive to have him wasted.

    This nest of Adelsons (n.b. brother Robert and his family live around Albany, N.Y. and have not been mentioned by law enforcement at all in this affair) encouraged their daughter in 2012 to file for divorce when she did not have grounds, assisted her in cleaning the furniture and valuables out of the house while her husband was on a business trip, assisted her in concealing Prof. Markel’s children for weeks after he returned home to discover his house bereft of just about everything but the marital bed decorated with a copy of her divorce filing, and footed her legal bills to boot. Even if they’re innocent of this crime, they’re godawful fools.

  4. This is going to be really tough to explain to the jury. I sure hope the have a smoking gun.

    1. The grand jury reconvened the first week of August. There may not be enough to indict any of the Adelsons, but they’ll carry a stench the rest of their lives.

  5. I think this illustrates why one should never speak to police. If innocent, she’s shocked, and falling prey to what-do-they-think-I’m-thinking? and related speculative thoughts, while still feeling the initial surprise. There is a very good reason for the cooling-off period in the Police Bill of Rights (in which the police are protected from being policed).

    1. mortimeryoung: This is the first I’ve heard of law enforcement bills of rights. Thanks for mentioning this.

      At first blush, however, several provisions seem entirely unfair unless the rest of the public has the same rights:

      – Questioning of a law enforcement officer should be conducted for a reasonable length of time and preferably while the officer is on duty unless exigent circumstances apply.

      – Law enforcement officers cannot be threatened, harassed, or promised rewards to induce the answering of any question.

      – Law enforcement officers will be questioned by a single investigator, and he or she shall be informed of the name, rank, and command of the officer conducting the investigation.

      I realize that each state’s LEO bill of rights may differ, but the above three provisions, if part of California’s, seem to suggest a negative inference, i.e., that they’re included because they are not part of police interrogation policy otherwise.


  6. She does seem to be a manipulative personality. She took a writing class after her ex’s murder and acknowledged in an essay that was later published that she “never felt love or passion” for Dan Markel; that she took the “easy way” of marrying an older, well-established man, but inevitably became bored with him and wanted out of the marriage. But of course, a lot of women do that and it doesn’t mean she had anything to do with his murder. But implicating her brother to the police……I could never do that, even if I thought my brother were guilty. Frankly, I don’t have a favorable opinion from what I’ve learned about her. I think she’s pretty much skated her whole life based on good looks and family money. If I were a juror, I would be sceptical of her testimony as she just seems too much the narcissist.

    1. he hasn’t skated. Her accomplishments are her own, though it’s a reasonable inference that the clinical position she had at Florida State was a consequence of her husband’s employment.

      I suspect part of the problem she had with her husband is that he’s more accomplished than she is or could be and he did not take an interest in her research and publication vector. Prof. Markel had many admirers who loved working with him, but the balance of opinion about his was mixed, with some who knew him finding him hard to take (one former student chiming in in a forum like this said he was the most arrogant man said student ever met). Harvey Adelson and his wife have built a large practice and made an excellent living in dentistry, an occupation in which many have difficulty making office rent and paying the hygienist. All of their children have handsome post-baccalaureate degrees (though son Robert had a stupefying amount of clinical training – 13 years – to be a suburban ENT doctor in Albany, NY), Charles Adelson, DDS, attended state schools, worked for his father, had never married, and had no children. If Markel stuck it to him about any of this or sloughed off his in-laws accomplishments, it’s not surprising he was on their manure list. Highly intelligent and competitive people are commonly asinine.

      1. I used the word “skated” in a relative sense. Her accomplishments, as well as those of her brother, would be outstanding if they grew up in a blue collar family. But if your parents are professionals with extensive real estate holdings and enormous wealth, then attending state schools and marrying an older established guy and then getting a clinical placement at the same school are not particularly impressive accomplishments. Granted, I only know what I’ve read, which is that she took a more traditional route and Charlie is the family playboy. Both the Markels and the Adelsons are highly successful Jewish families with red/blond hair and blue eyes. Thus probably German Jews with a long history of money and success. The Adelson kids may be spoiled underachievers, relatively speaking. Charlie may have fancied himself a playboy and gangsta wannabe. I don’t know these folks….just drinking coffee and speculating. Thanks for your insights.

        1. Her accomplishments, as well as those of her brother, would be outstanding if they grew up in a blue collar family. But if your parents are professionals with extensive real estate holdings and enormous wealth, then attending state schools and marrying an older established guy and then getting a clinical placement at the same school are not particularly impressive accomplishments.

          Her parents’ money didn’t do her school work for her. She attended Brandeis and Cambridge rather than the University of Florida; that’s what money can do. Law degrees and bar admissions aren’t just handed to people with money, either. She was fairly early in her law career and she had two children under five, so I wouldn’t make too much of what she had done and had not done there.

          Lots of people with money and/or position have children with very ho-hum occupations. Jeb Bush’s daughter works as an office assistant in a medical practice. John Boehner’s daughter married a construction worker.

  7. What do I think? I live in Fresno, California. I think we should all speculate, based on no actual knowledge of anything at all.

    I’m glad you agree.

    Thank you for promoting this ridiculous idea, so I have something to do on an otherwise-boring Wednesday night.

  8. She stinks. Her story is too piecemeal, and she’s an attorney who knows better than to talk to law enforcement when he’s questioning her as a suspect.

    Another along these lines is Kristine Rossum, a stunning, spoiled beauty who worked as a toxicologist for the Sn Diego County medical examiner and who was convicted of putting seven times the lethal dose of fentanyl into her husband. She now has time to think about that up Chowchilla along with the $100M in damages a jury awarded against her in a wrongful-death suit.


      1. I agree. A JD and bar admission doesn’t make one an attorney. You have to actually practice law in a real setting, not a law school clinic.

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