Tonight on Dateline NBC, correspondent Dennis Murphy looks into the murder of Florida law professor Dan Markel. The investigation has drawn national attention, and it is not over yet, with trials for those involved still being scheduled.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Markel was shot in his home on July 18, 2014 at around 11 a.m. He was a 41-year-old Florida State law professor and author. Shortly after, the crime was classified as a murder, as law enforcement came out to say that Markel was the intended victim, according to Forward.com.
Now, more than one person is behind bars for the crime. Currently, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, Katherine Magbanua is in jail, though her attorneys would like for her to be released on bond after a mistrial last October. Others implicated in the murder are Sigfredo Garcia, who was sentenced to life in prison and Charlie and Donna Adelson, who have been implicated but not arrested according to the newspaper.
Garcia Was Convicted of First-Degree Murder
Investigators believe that the murder of Markel was a contract killing, and the Tallahassee Democrat reported in 2016 that police documents outline the crime and connect it to Markel’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson. According to the site, documents say that the Adelsons were looking to hire a hitman the summer prior to the slaying. The family denies any involvement in the murder.
Katherine Magbanua was also named in the reports, according to the newspaper. She is the mother of Garcia’s two children as well as a former girlfriend of Charlie Adelson, who investigators believe hired the hitman to kill his sister’s ex-husband.
Luis Rivera, a childhood friend of Garcia’s, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in relation to the case and testified against Garcia. He said that the two of them drove to shoot Markel together after they were hired, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
A jury ultimately found Garcia guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The jury was made up of 10 women and two men, and they opted to not sentence Garcia to death, though that was on the table, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Garcia Vowed to Use All Appeals And Battle For His Freedom
After being convicted of the murder, Garcia apologized to Magbanua and vowed to use each of his appeals, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
“I plan on fighting this with every breath I have,” Garcia wrote in his note, according to the newspaper. “I’m going to start with my direct appeal and continue exhausting every appeal in the book until they get so tired of seeing me they’ll give up and free me.”
Magbanua is facing charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder. Her first trial ended in a mistrial and she has not yet been tried again for the crime.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported that Magbanua has been offered immunity in the case in exchange for testimony against the Adelsons, but that offer was denied.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Garcia is currently in the Mayo Correctional Institution Annex, located in Mayo, Florida.