Jury seated in Katherine Magbanua retrial
TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) - After a two-day process, a jury has been seated for Katherine Magbanua’s retrial in the murder of Florida State law professor Dan Markel.
A total of 14 people were selected; 12 will serve on the main jury, while two were selected as alternates.
The judge announced who was selected for the jury around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday.
One hundred potential jurors were questioned Monday and nearly 60 were invited back for further questioning on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning, the remaining prospective jurors were questioned in the open courtroom.
The judge started by asking potential jurors about any prior jury service and whether they know any attorneys or witnesses involved in the trial.
Following the lunch break, the judge excused 13 of the first 21 prospective jurors, leaving eight in the jury box. The court brought forward 21 new candidates and started asking them personal questions.
They were asked about their occupation, marital status, children, how long they’ve lived in Leon County and whether they have any close friends or relatives in law enforcement.
The judge also asked each potential juror whether they or any close friends or relatives have been charged with a crime or been the victim of a crime.
Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman read the names of more than 40 state witnesses aloud, including Dan Markel’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson, her former boyfriend Jeffrey Lacasse and co-defendant Luis Rivera, who took a plea deal in exchange for his testimony.
Most of the state witnesses were Tallahassee Police Department officers and FBI agents who worked on the case.
Defense attorney Tara Kawass listed three additional witnesses Tuesday morning, but Tuesday afternoon the defense added five more witnesses, including convicted triggerman Sigfredo Garcia.
Kawass did not name any members of the Adelson family, who had previously been listed as witnesses by the defense.
You can read WCTV’s recap of day one below, or watch the video at the top of this story.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) - Jurors were questioned individually behind closed doors as attorneys try to seat a jury of 12 and as many as four alternates to weigh the evidence against Katherine Magbanua.
Magbanua is being retried for the murder of FSU Law professor Dan Markel. Her first trial ended with a hung jury and mistrial in 2019.
Prospective jurors entered the courtroom at about 9:15 a.m. Monday and within 30 minutes, they were being brought into the jury room one by one to be questioned about extensive publicity in the case.
“This case has at times received a fair amount of publicity‚” Circuit Judge Robert Wheeler said.
He told jurors they would be questioned about what they have seen and heard about the case, what the source of their information was, whether they have formed any opinions about Magbanua’s guilt or innocence and whether they could base a verdict solely on the evidence presented in court.
The judge also cautioned them against watching or reading any news accounts of the case and forbid them from looking up any information on the internet about it.
Lead prosecutor Georgia Cappleman read a short summary of the case to the prospective jurors and the judge read the indictment aloud. Magbanua faces three counts: first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.
The judge told jurors he expects jury selection to last two days, with opening statements likely to begin Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.
The judge said he expects testimony to last into or through next week.
“So, it is a two-week commitment,” Judge Wheeler said.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Katherine Magbanua is back in a Tallahassee courtroom this week. She’ll be retried for the 2014 murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel.
Magbanua’s last trial in Oct. 2019 ended with a hung jury.
Court administrators tell us 200 potential jurors have been summoned in the case, with the first 100 reporting Monday and the next 100 reporting Tuesday. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will be working to seat a jury of 12 and as many as four alternates.
Potential jurors arrived in the courtroom at about 9:15 Monday morning.
WCTV will begin gavel to gavel livestreaming of the trial once the jury is seated and attorneys are ready to present their opening statements. The trial could last two weeks.
Magbanua is one of four people accused in Markel’s murder.
Prosecutors contend she was part of a murder-for-hire plot that was motivated by a custody battle between Markel and his ex-wife. Magbanua’s longtime boyfriend Sigfredo Garcia was convicted in 2019 and sentenced to life in prison.
Luis Rivera entered a plea and is serving a 19-year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony against the others.
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