In May, Luis Rivera and Sigfredo Garcia were arrested on first-degree murder charges for the death of FSU Law professor Dan Markel, who was shot twice in the head in the garage of his Tallahassee home in 2014. Investigators believe that Rivera and Garcia were hired to kill Markel by the family of Wendi Adelson, the professor’s ex-wife. Both Rivera and Garcia are scheduled for separate trials later this year.
Read on to learn more about Dan Markel’s suspected killers.
1. Rivera Is Serving Time for Unrelated Charges
In June, Rivera (also known as “King Tato”) was escorted from Orlando to Tallahassee by the Leon County Swat Team after being charged for Markel’s murder, according to WCTV. He was serving time in federal prison for his involvement in the gang, The Latin Kings. According to the DOJ, Rivera was arrested for taking part in a “violent racketeering conspiracy”.
Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman reportedly said, “Mr. Rivera was charged in the same indictment with Mr. Garcia. So he needed to be brought to Tallahassee to answer to the charges.”
2. Garcia Is Linked to Wendi Adelson’s Brother
According to ABC News, court documents have linked Adelson’s family to Garcia. Wendi Adelson’s brother, Charlie Adleson’s, former girlfriend is the mother of Garcia’s children. The arrest affidavit ordered by a judge “alleges that Charlie Adelson ‘reportedly did not like Markel and did not get along with him.'”
3. Both Face the Death Penalty If Convicted
In May, Garcia and Rivera were indicted by a grand jury. Both are facing the death penalty if convicted. According to the probable cause affidavit, police believe the two men were “enlisted” to kill Markel by Adelson’s family, who wanted her and her kids to relocate to South Florida.
One year before his murder, Markel and Adelson underwent a bitter divorce. ABC News writes, “In the months just prior to his slaying, Markel alleged that Adelson’s mother was making disparaging remarks about him in front of his sons.”
4. Both Have Entered Not Guilty Pleas
Initially, Rivera denied any involvement in Markel’s death, and claimed he’d never been north of Orlando and Tampa. In June, however, after seeing photos of the he and Garcia in a green Prius, WTXL reported that Rivera admitted to traveling to Tallahassee at the time of the murder. The news outlet writes, “Court documents say that Rivera changed his story, saying the two were in Tallahassee visiting Florida State. While Rivera would not confirm if he was at the scene of the murder, documents say he did not deny the claims either.”
Investigators later confirmed that Rivera was not at work the day that Markel was shot.
5. No Members of Adelson’s Family Have Been Charged in the Murder
So far, no members of Wendi Adleson’s family have been charged in the death of Dan Markel. According to ABC, state prosecutor Georgia Cappleman has argued that right now, there’s “not enough evidence to do so.”
Lawyers for the Adelson family have stated that neither Wendi, her brother Charlie, nor their parents, Donny and Harvey, had anything to do with Markel’s death.
Garcia’s trial is currently scheduled for November 14.