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Defendant in FSU Professor Murder Trial Says She Thinks Victim’s Brother-in-Law Was Involved


Katherine Magbanua, a defendant accused of helping orchestrate the murder of Florida State University Law Professor Dan Markel, said in court Wednesday that she believed her ex-boyfriend (and Markel’s ex-brother-in-law) Charlie Adelson was involved in the killing. To be clear, she said she had no firsthand knowledge of the homicide, and didn’t play a role in it. Her suspicions about her past beau were based on what she saw at trial, she said.

Authorities have said they believe that Adelson might have orchestrated the murder.

This testimony is the Magbanua defense’s attempt to show she had nothing to do with the killing, and was only linked to people implicated in it. It also backed up Sigfredo Garcia, her co-defendant and the father of her children. She said that he hated Adelson too much to ever help him.

Markel, a divorced father of two, was found fatally shot at his Leon County home in 2014. He had been in an ugly split with ex-wife Wendi Adelson. Basically, the theory is that her brother Charlie Adelson hired Magbanua, who hired Garcia. Garcia, in turn, recruited Luis Rivera for backup during the murder, the state said. Magbanua was the link between the actual killers and the reason behind it, according to the prosecution’s story. The defendants had children together in an on-and-off relationship, but split in 2013. Magbanua moved on to Charlie Adelson for a time.

Rivera flipped and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The Adelsons have not been charged, and they have denied wrongdoing. Only Garcia and Magbanua stand trial. Both of their defense teams maintain Rivera lied to investigators in order to get a sweetheart plea deal.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]

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