Ex brother-in-law arrested in Dan Markel murder
Find statements from attorneys and the transcript from the enhanced audio of Charlie Adelson’s and Katherine Magbanua’s 2016 conversation at the Dolce Vita towards the bottom of this story.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - In a bombshell development nearly eight years after the killing of FSU law professor Dan Markel, his former brother-in-law has been arrested.
Charlie Adelson, brother of Markel’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson, was taken into custody Thursday morning at his home in the Miami area, after a grand jury indictment was issued Wednesday in Leon County.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office records show Adelson faces charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and solicitation to commit murder.
Adelson becomes the fourth person charged in connection with the murder of Markel, who was shot and killed when he pulled into the driveway of his Betton Hills home in July 2014.
“We will not rest until everyone involved is brought to justice,” Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said in announcing Adelson’s arrest.
Prosecutors contend Markel was killed in a murder-for-hire plot that has already sent Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera to prison. Garcia’s former girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, is set to be retried in the case starting May 16. The state attorney’s office claims the trio conspired with the Adelson family to kill the professor to end a custody battle.
Magbanua’s retrial was delayed until May after prosecutors told the judge an audio forensics expert was reviewing an FBI recording of Magbanua meeting with Charlie Adelson at the Dolce Vita restaurant in Miami back in April 2016.
Cappleman pointed to that piece of evidence as she discussed Adelson’s arrest Thursday.
“A new piece of the puzzle was added, which was the clarified audio of the restaurant recording,” said Cappleman. “This recording includes statements by Charles Adelson which can be heard clearly for the first time,” she said.
Cappleman also commended law enforcement efforts, as well as the time committed by the Grand Jury who reviewed the case.
The state hired Keith McElveen — who spent nearly a decade in audio forensics for the CIA — to enhance the recording. Prosecutors recently told the judge his work is now complete.
In a motion filed April 14, prosecutors are now asking the judge to decide in advance whether jurors will be able to see a transcript of the newly “clarified audio” and whether they can see a demonstrative aid that combines the original video, the enhanced audio and subtitles from the transcript.
Cappleman said Thursday it’s not clear how Charlie Adelson’s indictment and arrest will impact Magbanua’s upcoming trial.
WCTV has requested a copy of the newly enhanced recording and the accompanying transcript. The State Attorney’s Office provided both the video with enhanced audio and the transcript to our newsroom. You can find the transcripts below or at this link.
WARNING: The transcript includes graphic language and may not be suitable for all viewers.
The attorneys for the Markel family sent the following statement to WCTV Thursday morning:
“The Markel Family is deeply grateful to the State Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and all members of law enforcement for their tireless pursuit of justice. Nearly eight years after Danny’s tragic murder, these dedicated public servants continue to fight to honor Danny’s memory and to hold accountable all those responsible for his horrific death. On behalf of Danny’s family and friends in the Tallahassee community and all over the world, thank you.” -Orin Snyder and Matt Benjamin
Adelson’s attorney also provided a statement to WCTV:
“Charlie is innocent and the prosecutors have no new information that led to this arrest. The timing sure does stink, doesn’t it? On the eve of a long-awaited trial of Katie, this move has the smell of desperation.” -David Oscar Markus and Margot Moss
Magbanua’s attorney issued this statement on Thursday:
“The government has had the recording for six years and one day. Since then, they’ve done endless seances with different audio/video experts trying to hear voices from beyond. What you can hear—not what’s in their grossly inaccurate and inadmissible subtitles— is that Katherine Magbanua is innocent.” -Christopher DeCoste and Tara Kawass
Magbanua maintains her innocence and jurors in her first trial could not agree on a verdict. Her attorneys on Thursday submitted a demand for a speedy trial, asking the court to maintain the May 16 date for her retrial.
Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, and her family have repeatedly denied having anything to do with the murder. The Adelson family - Wendi, her brother Charlie and their parents Harvey and Donna - are all listed as possible witnesses in her upcoming retrial.
Timeline of key dates in the Markel case
- July 31, 2013: Dan Markel and his wife Wendi Adelson are divorced.
- July 18, 2014: Markel is shot in the head at his Betton Hills home.
- July 21, 2014: Tallahassee police create a tip line dedicated to investigation.
- July 30, 2014: Reward raised to $10,000.
- July 17, 2015: On one year anniversary, TPD releases new details. New $100,000 reward offered.
- April 20, 2016: FBI records conversation between Charlie Adelson and Katherine Magbanua at Dolce Vita restaurant.
- May 25, 2016: Sigfredo Garcia arrested in Hallandale Beach on first-degree murder charges.
- June 2, 2016: Police announce charges against a second suspect, Luis Rivera
- Oct. 1, 2016: Katherine Magbanua arrested in Broward County on first-degree murder charges.
- Oct. 4, 2016: Luis Rivera pleads guilty to second-degree murder and is sentenced to 19 years in prison.
- Oct. 11, 2019: Sigfredo Garcia convicted of first-degree murder, judge declares a mistrial for Magbanua after jury deadlocks
- Oct. 21, 2019: Magbanua’s retrial scheduled for April 13, 2020.
- March 2020: Magbanua’s retrial delayed for the first time due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- May 6, 2021: Magbanua’s retrial scheduled for Oct. 4, 2021.
- Sept. 20, 2021: Magbanua’s retrial postponed again until Feb. 14, 2022, this time due to the delta variant’s spread in Leon County.
- Feb. 1, 2022: Magbanua’s retrial postponed so audio forensics expert can enhance audio of FBI recording of a conversation between Magbanua and Charlie Adelson at a Miami restaurant back in 2016.
- April 21, 2022: Charlie Adelson arrested and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, and solicitation of murder
- May 16, 2022: Currently scheduled date for Magbanua’s retrial.
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