Wendi Adelson’s testimony in Magbanua retrial

You can watch the state’s questioning and the defense’s cross-examination in the Facebook videos at the top of this story.
Following Thursday’s lunch break, Luis Rivera took the stand in Katherine Magbanua’s retrial for the murder of Dan Markel. (5/19/22)
Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 9:00 AM EDT
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STATE QUESTIONS ADELSON (begins around 22-minute mark)


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Wendi Adelson was questioned by the state for nearly two hours Thursday in the retrial of Katherine Magbanua and defense attorneys followed up with cross-examination.

Magbanua is one of four people accused in the 2014 murder-for-hire plot of FSU professor Dan Markel. Wendi’s brother, Charlie Adelson, is also one of them.

Adelson’s testimony lasted much longer in this trial than in Magbanua’s first trial, and prosecutors asked more questions about her brother, Charlie Adelson, who was arrested just last month in the same murder-for-hire plot.

“I think he lived a bachelor lifestyle,” Adelson said of her brother Charlie, driving fancy cars and dating many women.

Adelson said she met Magbanua twice, once at dinner and once at the beach, but said their relationship “didn’t seem serious.”

She said Charlie Adelson was dating Magbanua at the time of Markel’s murder.

Adelson says Charlie Adelson was aware of Magbanua’s ex-boyfriend, Sigfredo Garcia, and seemed “a little scared of him.”

Wendi Adelson confirmed on cross-examination that her brother made a joke about looking into hiring a hitman as a divorce present.

“The joke was made many times,” Adelson said, including right before Markel was murdered.

“This is all about you,” defense attorney Chris DeCoste said. “It’s all because of your failed marriage.”

DeCoste claimed Adelson “dropped a bomb” on Markel when she called him at an out-of-town conference and told him she was leaving and filing for divorce.

DeCoste pressed her on why she hasn’t helped to find out who killed Markel and why she hasn’t pressed her brother Charlie for answers.

“I have been nothing but helpful,” Wendi Adelson said. “I have done nothing wrong. I am not guilty.”

When the state questioned her, Adelson described her marriage, separation and divorce from Dan Markel. She testified that the two separated in 2012 after six years of marriage and she asked the court for permission to relocate her children to Miami.

“I wanted to create some stability for my kids,” Adelson said.

She testified that her parents and brother lived nearby and could offer some support.

Prosecutors asked her about a series of emails from her mother, Donna Adelson.

Adelson confirmed that her mother called Markel a bully, a religious extremist and several expletives.

“She was very, very disappointed with the way he treated me,” Adelson said.

She testified that her mother suggested bribing Markel and paying him up to $1 million to allow the children to relocate to South Florida.

A judge ultimately denied Wendi Adelson’s request to move the children to South Florida.

Adelson says her mother was “very upset” by that decision.

Find WCTV reporter Jacob Murphey’s full Twitter thread documenting Adelson’s testimony here.

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