Retrial in Dan Markel murder case delayed until 2021

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 12:39 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A woman accused in the murder for hire of Florida State University Law Professor Dan Markel won’t go to trial until 2021.

Katherine Magbanua’s last trial ended in a mistrial, and her retrial was postponed after COVID-19 forced the courts to halt jury trials.

A judge said during a Zoom hearing Thursday that given the pandemic and the number of jurors needed, Magbanua’s trial won’t happen until next year.

Magbanua’s defense team told the judge they’ll ask the courts to release Magbanua on bond or house arrest until then. That motion has not yet been filed and a hearing date has not yet been set. 

As of Thursday, court records show Magbanua has been in jail for 1,404 days since her arrest in 2016.

Magbanua is one of three people charged in Markel's murder. 

Accused trigger man Sigfredo Garcia is serving a life sentence after he was found guilty at trial in October 2019.  

Luis Rivera entered a plea in 2016 and is serving a 19-year prison sentence. He testified against Garcia and Magbanua at trial, saying the three plotted the murder and were paid tens of thousands of dollars for it.

Markel was shot to death behind the wheel of his car as he pulled into the garage of his Betton Hills home in July 2014.  Neighbors heard the gunshots and saw a Prius driving away. Surveillance videos helped the Tallahassee Police Department track down the Prius, ultimately leading them to Garcia and Rivera.

Magbanua's next court date is set for December 3, 2020.  

The judge says if her attorneys file a motion to review her custody status, "We'll get that on a docket ... pronto."

You can find WCTV’s extensive coverage of the 2019 Dan Markel murder trial here.

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