Markel Murder Trial Day 11: Garcia found guilty, mistrial ruled for Magbanua

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 11, 2019

The jury has reached a verdict in the Dan Markel murder trial.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — After 11 days of trial, Sigfredo Garcia has been found guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the 2014 killing of FSU law professor Dan Markel. The judge declared a mistrial in Katherine Magbanua's case after the jury could not decide on a verdict.

Jury deliberations resumed at 8:45 a.m. Friday.

Jurors deliberated for more than four hours on Thursday. The jury, which was being sequestered for this leg of the trial, was sent to their hotel around 8:30 p.m.

WCTV has continued coverage of this trial, including recaps of each day in court.

3:45 p.m. update

The judge has declared a mistrial in the case of Katherine Magbanua after the jury could not decide on a verdict.

The jury returned to the courtroom about 30 minutes after they returned a guilty verdict for Garcia.

Case management for Magbanua has been set for October 22.

3:05 p.m. update

The jury has returned a verdict on Sigfredgo Garcia, finding him guilty of first degree murder.

The jury deliberated for nine hours before coming to the verdict on Garcia.

According to the judge, the jury has yet to come to a decision regarding Katherine Magbanua, and has instructed the jurors to go back to discuss the issue further.


12:45 p.m. update

Jury deliberations are now nearing the nine hour mark in the Dan Markel murder case.

A question just before noon indicates the jurors are struggling to make a decision.

They asked the judge if they could have a hung jury on one defendant and a verdict on the other. They also asked if it was okay to reach a verdict on one charge and be hung on another.

The judge answered yes to both questions.

Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua are each facing three charges: first degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation.

State Attorney Jack Campbell made a brief appearance in the courtroom Friday morning, and the Markel family was in court to hear the most recent round of jury questions.

9:15 a.m. update

Just before 9 a.m. jurors knocked on the courtroom door with another question.

They asked “Can you be a principle to premeditation if you do not premeditate it yourself?”

The judge referred them back to the definitions in the jury instructions.

The lawyers are called into the courtroom anytime there is a jury question and the defendants are also brought in from a nearby holding cell.

Jurors deliberated for more than four hours Thursday evening before breaking for the night. They asked three questions in that time span.

You can read a recap of Thursday's closing arguments below.

Day 10 wrap

The waiting game is now underway. Closing statements lasted more than six hours inside courtroom 3G.

Those arguments wrapped up around 3:45 p.m. The jurors were then given careful instructions on how to proceed in crafting a verdict.

They have a lot to break down: Two defendants, Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia each facing murder conspiracy and solicitation charges.

Another factor for jurors to consider is the fact Garcia is facing the death penalty.

During their closing argument, the prosecution urged the jury not to consider that the people who are ultimately responsible are not in the courtroom. Prosecutors began their two hour argument by pinning the blame on the family of Markel's ex-wife: The Adelsons.

“What enemy or enemies had Mr. Markel made?” Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman asked. “His own family.”

Previously in court, the state played wiretaps and a video referred to as "the bump," where an undercover FBI agent handed a note to Donna Adelson, Markel's ex-mother-in-law, and then recorded who talked to whom.

“She goes straight to Charlie Adelson who goes straight to Katherine Magbanua, who goes goes straight to Sigfredo Garcia. Exactly what this undercover operation was designed to ferret out,” said Cappleman.

Cappleman told jurors that justice for anyone not in the courtroom will have to wait for another day.

"We are trusting you to render a wise and legal verdict in this case," she said.

Defense attorneys did their best to shift the blame to someone else.

Garcia's lawyer squared his argument on the role of Luis Rivera, the gang kingpin who became the government's key witness, in the murder.

"A gangster killed Dan Markel. Luis Rivera killed Dan Markel," attorney Saam Zangeneh said.

Magbanua's attorney turned the attention back to the Adelsons.

"They tried to build a case around her, to force her to cooperate, so they culd get what they have been going after for years now: the Adelson family," attorney Chris DeCoste said.

None of the Adelson clan has been charged with any crime, and they deny any involvement in the Markel murder.

Both 'Dateline NBC' and ABC's '20/20' are working on the true crime story.

Each juror will use a verdict form to sort everything out. If the jury doesn't come up with a verdict by around 8 or 9 p.m., they'll be sequestered in a hotel.

Dan's family released a statement in reference to the verdict, which reads as follows...

"Danny was brutally murdered in cold blood. After waiting five long years, we are relieved that at least one of the people responsible for Danny’s murder was convicted today and are grateful for the tireless efforts of law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office. Yet justice was only partially served. In light of the mountain of evidence presented by the State Attorney’s Office, we are confident Katherine Magbanua will be re-tried and convicted.

As all who followed this trial know, there is more work to be done to ensure that everyone responsible for Danny’s murder is held accountable. Until that day comes, we will continue to fight for complete justice and to be reunited with our grandchildren, Danny’s two young boys, whom we love and miss dearly."

Copyright 2019 WCTV. All rights reserved.