Trial coming soon in Dan Markel murder case

Published: May. 2, 2019 at 7:11 PM EDT
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By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 10, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) -- A judge has again refused to delay the upcoming trial in Florida State University law professor Dan Markel's murder.

Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua are accused in the July 2014 murder-for-hire plot.

Earlier this week, a judge denied Garcia's request for a delay and Thursday he denied Magbanua's request as well.

Magbanua's attorney, Tara Kawass, has been battling health issues and was seeking more time to prepare.

The judge cited three trial delays already and the ongoing work of her co-counsel in denying the continuance.

The trial is now set to begin June 3rd.

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 7, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A judge Tuesday denied a request to delay the upcoming trial of accused trigger man Sigfredo Garcia.

Garcia and Katherine Magbanua are both accused in the July 2014 murder of FSU Law professor Dan Markel.

Garcia’s attorney, Saam Zangeneh, had asked to delay the June 3 trial because his baby is due in early July and he didn’t want to be away from his home in Miami in the weeks leading up to the birth.

"What I'm asking for is not unreasonable. It's not as if Mr. Garcia and Ms. Magbanua are out at liberty. They're in custody," Zangeneh said.

Zangeneh estimated the trial could take four to six weeks given the extensive publicity in the case.

"I think jury selection in this case will take the better of two weeks. This is a case that has been on Dateline, 20/20 and in publications in Tallahassee and throughout the United States," Zangeneh said.

The prosecutor objected to the delay.

"This case has been pending for a very long time, the defense has had several continuances previously,” prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said. “The state is ready for trial. The family is extremely ready to get this case behind them."

Cappleman handed the judge a letter from the Markel family attorney objecting to the delay.

“At this late date, nearly five years after Dan’s murder and more than two and a half years since indictment, further delay would cause the Markel family significant additional pain and anguish,” family attorney Orin Snyder wrote in the letter. “Maintaining the current trial schedule would begin to provide, however, the closure and justice that the Markels deserve.”

The judge ultimately denied the request to delay the trial, saying he is confident that the case can be tried in three weeks, not the four to six weeks estimated by the defense.

"With three weeks, we're still outside your margin of error that the doctor's given you," Circuit Judge James Hankinson said. “This case has been going on for a long time and needs to be resolved."

Garcia’s co-defendant, Katherine Magbanua, is scheduled to stand trial with him on June 3.

Her attorney filed a request for a delay on Tuesday morning citing recent health concerns and what she says is difficulty in scheduling depositions and getting evidence from the state. Defense attorney Tara Kawass described it as a “monster trial,“ saying prosecutors “have moved like the tortoise and in response expect us to move like the hare.”

The judge acknowledged the motion in Tuesday afternoon’s hearing, but did not rule on it. Judge Hankinson says he will make a ruling in writing soon.

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 7, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A judge has denied a motion to delay the trial of the accused trigger man in the murder of Florida State University professor Dan Markel.

The judge denied the request on Tuesday for suspect Sigfredo Garcia.

Garcia and Magbanua will head to trial on June 3rd as previously scheduled.

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 2, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Defense attorneys are now requesting a delay in the Dan Markel murder case.

Markel was shot and killed in his own driveway back in July 2014 in what police believe was a murder-for-hire scheme.

Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua are set to stand trial for the FSU professor's murder on June 3.

This week, Garcia's attorney, Saam Zangeneh, requested a delay, saying he's expecting a baby in July and wants to ensure he's not in the midst of trial when the child is born.

A motion hearing is set for next week.

The judge rejected an earlier request to postpone the trial. Defense attorneys cited delays in payments from the state's Justice Administrative Commission. JAC announced this week in a press release that it has run out of money until the Legislature OKs a new budget.