Judge delays Adelson murder trial, keeps Magbanua tapes sealed
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A high-profile Tallahassee murder trial will not start this Spring, as previously scheduled.
Leon County Judge Robert Wheeler granted a motion filed by Charlie Adelson’s attorney asking to move the trial from a late April start date to late Summer. Due to various scheduling conflicts between the court and the attorneys, a September or October trial seemed more likely.
A date was not set Tuesday in court, as both sides will continue to review the calendar.
Adelson is accused of orchestrating a murder-for-hire of FSU Law Professor Dan Markel in July 2014.
The Court also reviewed a motion filed by Adelson’s attorney, Daniel Rashbaum, asking to seal an interview between prosecutors and Katherine Magbanua.
Magbanua was convicted in Markel’s murder in May 2022. She was dating Adelson at the time of Markel’s death. Prosecutors alleged Magbanua was the link between Adelson and the hitman, Sigfredo Garcia.
Rashbaum told the Court he had reviewed the interview tapes and believed they included nothing that would incriminate Adelson, and he believed the State would not call her to the stand in the upcoming trial.
Gray Television, the parent company of WCTV, filed a response asking Judge Wheeler to deny the request to seal Magbanua’s interview with prosecutors.
In the end, Judge Wheeler sided with Adelson’s attorney, arguing the interview could jeopardize Adelson’s right to a fair trial.
“The disclosure of these discovery materials would be big news in this small community, potentially infecting the entire jury pool,” Judge Wheeler said.
“Those without an opinion at this time may form an opinion, thereby reducing the jury pool drastically.”
Magbanua is still listed as being in the Leon County Jail. She’s been there since November after she was transferred back to Tallahassee for that interview with prosecutors.
Copyright 2023 WCTV. All rights reserved.