Police Arrest Third Suspect In The Murder Of Professor Dan Markel [UPDATED]

unknown1405809806000-Dan-MarkelWe have been following the investigation of the murder of Florida State Professor Dan Markel – a case that 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, Charlie Adelson. Charlie Adelson was reportedly romantically involved with Katherine Magbanua, who just happened to be the mother of two children with Sigfredo Garcia, one of the two accused hit men (with Luis Rivera). Now, Magbanua has been arrested — drawing the case even closer to the Adelson family. UPDATE: Rivera has cut a deal to cooperate in a guilty plea. That deal appears connected to this arrest and will likely increase the pressure on Magbanua to cut her own deal.

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. News accounts say that Markel returned from a business trip to find the kids and his wife gone with divorce papers left on the bed — the start of 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. The police have made little secret of their suspicion of Charles Adelson and his mother Donna Adelson. The family wanted Wendi Adelson to move with the children near them. Police became suspicious after learning that Magbanua is connected to Garcia and that she spoke more than 2,000 times to Garcia in the weeks leading up to the slaying. Prosecutors now 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.

Now Magbanua is under arrest for murder. The warrant however suggests a broader circle of conspirators. It says that Wendi’s mother was particularly upset after Markel had filed a motion to require that the children’s visitation with Wendi’s mother be supervised. He cited allegations by the children that she had called Markel “stupid” and asserted he was “taking her sunshines away from her.” Moreover, the cellphone records show that after Magbanua spoke with Charlie Adelson, he would often call his mother, Donna. For her part, Magbanua would call Garcia. Indeed, police cite “a flurry of communications between the alleged conspirators.”

Police also suggest that Magbanua was given a “significant increase” in cash bank deposits after the murder and she received paychecks from the family dental business. The thrust of the warrant is clearly more about the Adelson family than Magbanua. Indeed, her arrest may be an effort to flip her against the Adelsons. She has children to care for and a valuable piece of any prosecution to bargain with. At most, she is believed to have been a facilitator in the conspiracy — making her the ultimate cooperating witness to tie in the main players. If that is the tactic, it could well succeed. What is clear is that the case is entering a new and more threatening stage for the Adelsons.

16 thoughts on “Police Arrest Third Suspect In The Murder Of Professor Dan Markel [UPDATED]

    • It requires no stretch of logic.

      Law enforcement has security camera footage, cell phone pings, transponder data from a rental car, and eyewitness statements which place Messrs. Garcia and Rivera in Tallahassee and trailing Prof. Markel on the morning he was murdered. They also have witness statements from neighbors who spotted Garcia and Rivera casing the neighborhood. The vehicle they rented, the vehicle appearing on security camera footage, and the vehicle seen at the scene are all the same make and model. Luis Rivera entered a guilty plea yesterday.

      Law enforcement has been entertaining several hypotheses about who Prof. Markel’s enemies were. One concerned an extortion case regarding which he was a consultant to a counsel for one of the parties. The lawyer who retained him said that idea’s nonsense: Prof. Markel had done almost no work on the case, had only just been retained, and his involvement was known only to the lawyer who’d called him in. Another idea was that an infuriated individual he’d offended (in his blogging or his teaching) had arranged for this. The trouble with that is that the impecunious law school graduates who had made threatening statements to him are not the sort who have lots of ready cash to hire hit men, and it’s quite a coincidence (or a tour de force of private investigation) that they managed to locate a hit man who is one-degree-of-separation from their target’s quondam in-laws. The third option is the one that Occam’s razor suggests. One third party acquainted with the Adelsons in 2013 and 2014 said their hobby was ‘hating Danny Markel’, and that the animosity to the man they had was most amazing.

      Now, what’s the connection between Prof. Markel and these two Miami gangbangers? Only one anyone has yet identified, and that runs from Sr. Garcia to Katherine Magbanua to Charles Adelson. If someone else hired Garcia and Rivera to take out Prof. Markel, it is an amusing co-incidence the amount of telephone chatter incorporating two members of this innocent family of dentists.

      • Especially, if Garcia was the shooter and Rivera only along for the ride. Not vice versa. Vice versa the window was still a little open …if Garcia, Rivera’s lifelong friend, only came along for the ride. It was Rivera who was a hit man for Northern Florida. THAT request could have allegedly come from anyone …most specifically Northern Florida. Now there is a good flow to the case. It’s what was badly needed to help move forward …past reasonable doubt. I’m glad he owned up to his actions.

  1. To add to the confusion, Wendi Adelson’s twin sister, Stella Adelson, has been dating Hector Rivera, the brother-in-law of accused hit man Luis Rivera. And during this same period, Charlie Adelson also paid $5,000 to Dr. Dexter Carlson (known as Dr. “Jaws”) to install braces in Hector Rivera’s adopted daughter, Juanita Rivera.

    • The conspiracy appears to have incorporated five people: two working for hire, a conduit, and the two instigators.

      Law enforcement at this point is of the opinion that Wendi Adelson was not an instigator and did not have advance knowledge of anything.

    • A better was the answer. I can’t for the life of me figure out ..WHY …that was never done. Markel (or maybe his lawyer – IDK) …was the “best” lawyer out of all four. But, their are other lawyers in town …that could provide a much better outcome. But, perhaps it wasn’t her (perhaps …I have another theory). Maube …it WAS …all about what the grandparents expected (wanted). But, even that theory is a little “strange”. Rationally, speaking that is. NO FRIGGIN WAY would any judge EVER order supervised visitations because a grandpare t used the word “stupid” or called what they said or thought was “dumb”. No Way were they at any risk. Might tell/advice/remind not to. (In some instances fines are initiated …in much worse scenerios.) But, again being “rational”. A better motive offered could be because Wendi had continuously suffered mental and now emotional abuse from Dan …before and all during the divorce. (Let’s not FORGET Dan’s trasgression of calling Wendi mentally ill …AT WORK …of ALL places. That threatens job security, friendships and child custody if she has to resign.) Yeah, I bet any new ex mother in law is thinking “stupid” (cough) for sure about their new ex son in law at this point. Thus, I also see a brother who just couldn’t take seeing anymore of the emotional abuse Dan was dishing out. And, attacking his sister was one thing but, now attacking his mother …who was NOT even a party to their divorce. It was more than just dealing with the threat in court. It was another emotional well being attack on yet another female family member. But, that would ONLY explain 2014. Considering there is an alleged 2013 murder for hire thought/plan …I sometimes wonder if brother and sistercould have conspired. Conspired to get a new boyfriend or girlfriend to take the bait?? Was Wendi trying to lure Lacasse down that road? (Her incredible charisma and sexuality.) *And, we’ve not yet heard WHO helped Garcia and Rivera LOCALLY!! *They absolutely did NOT stumple upon that hidden secret secluded trail by accident. No one knows it’s there. And, from the other side one would NEVER know it was even there much less runs along the back of Betton Hills homes. They went straight to it. Purposeful. Had nothing to do with HOW the crime would be committed. So, who was that person. (Did someone close draw a map …leave a payment,) Above someone mentioned a new name being WITH Garcia and Rivera …that name has never been brought up before.

      • Its a reasonable supposition that the Adelsons wanted their grandchildren in Fort Lauderdale. The impediment to that was the joint custody arrangement and their father’s employment in Tallahassee. This isn’t that complicated and the probable cause affidavit was explicit about it.

  2. Luis Rivera entered a plea deal yesterday to 2d degree murder. He is already serving 12 years on an unrelated charge, and his plea deal adds 7 more years for the murder of Dan Markel. Sweet deal! Of course, the deal requires that he “name names,” and he aparently gave up Ms. M, leading to her arrest. Of course, the bargained-for testimony of a career criminal isn’t worth all that much, or at least it shouldn’t be, so we’ll have to see if Ms. M rolls on her alleged co-conspirators, the Adelsons, which is what the prosecutors are seeking.

  3. Well, why don’t we treat Magbanua like we do Hillary Clinton? Let’s give her immunity, with no contingency on cooperation or rolling on anyone, in exchange for absolutely nothing, and let’s allow her to smash her computer to little tiny bits. Then everyone can plead the 5th and we can all go home. Justice is for the naive.

    And on another, less bitter note, I feel so very sorry for the children involved in this mess. I hope the truth does come out, and I hope these kids are protected from the truth until they are adults if their relatives were indeed involved. One would hope that they would not hurt the kids in this way by murdering their father. But sometimes people fail.

    • Karen, if the Justice Department and FBI were handling this case, they would be following your advice to a “T.” But this case is being handled by the local police department, so they have to be accountable and they don’t have the luxury of violating normal law enforcement practices the way the Justice Department and the FBI routinely do.

  4. I find myself wondering why the Adelsons hated the Professor so much they had him killed. There’s a lot to this story, which we will probably never know.

    • My suspicion is that the family (or the family less the son and daughter-in-law living in Albany NY) is quite close knit and vulnerable to group think for that reason. Prof. Markel was in the way of something Mama Bear wanted, which was to have her daughter and this particular set of grand-children nearby. The divorce was acrimonious, so there was a mess of bad blood on both sides. The Adelsons indubitably encouraged the divorce and helped Wendi empty out the house. That’s a bad thing to do, so you manufacture for yourself a narrative that the other guy had it coming.

  5. Better a law prof, then a student…. just sayin…. At JT’s school they recently started a food bank (it cost more than $60,000 per year to attend)…. and he’s apparently a “public interest” professor. Hahahahaha what public Mr. Turley??

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