Markel Murder trial Day 5: Witness testimony focuses on Magbanua

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 3, 2019

Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua are now on trial accused of conspiracy, solicitation and murder in the FSU law professor’s death.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — The Dan Markel murder trial continues into its fifth day of witness testimony.

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

Whenever the trial is in session, you can watch a livestream of it here on our website.

4:30 p.m. update

This afternoon's testimony from Tallahassee Police Department Sgt. Chris Corbitt focused on cell phone records on the day of Markel's murder. Corbitt is an expert in cell phone forensics.

A spreadsheet shown on a projector in the courtroom showed calls throughout the day among Sigfredo Garcia, Katherine Magbanua and the Adelsons.

11:30 a.m. update

A dental assistant from the Adelson Institute testified that she has worked at the dental practice for nearly 40 years.

She told police that she is not familiar with Katherine Magbanua and says she did not work at the office. She testified Magbanua was a patient there.

The dental assistant says she was not aware of any of Charlie Adelson's girlfriends working at the dental practice. She also says she wasn’t aware of any employees ever working remotely for the practice.

She said employees are paid every two weeks. She said that rarely, maybe once a year, when the Adelsons would go away, she would receive two or three paychecks at a time.

Another dental assistant is on the stand right now.

10:45 a.m. update

One of Katherine Magbanua’s close friends is testifying, saying she has known Magbanua, Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera since childhood.

Yindra Velazquez-Mascaro described Magbanua as having a series of jobs including one at a dental office, at a couple of nightclubs, a dermatologist office and ultimately at the real estate office where she worked.

When asked if Magbanua ever worked for Charlie Adelson or the Adelson’s family dental practice, she said she was not aware of that.

Velazquez-Mascaro says Magbanua quit her job at the real estate office the day Sigfredo Garcia was arrested in the Markel murder.

“It threw her off,” she testified.

Velazquez-Mascaro testified that in July 2014, Magbanua had asked her to watch her children. She said the next morning, Magbanua called her to tell her that Charlie Adelson’s brother-in-law “had an accident” and he was going to Tallahassee to check on his sister.

Velazquez-Mascaro testified that Magbanua and Adelson were dating but “it wasn’t serious.”

On cross examination, Velazquez-Mascaro testified that Sigfredo Garcia knew Magbanua was dating Charlie Adelson and was angry about it.

Prosecutors flashed a photo of Velazquez-Mascaro, Magbanua and Wendi Adelson smiling for the camera on South Beach.
Velazquez-Mascaro says Charlie Adelson was there too.

She described him as “comfortable,” not rich. “It’s Miami,” she said.

Velazquez-Mascaro testified she and Magbanua worked at the same Miami nightclub. On a good night, she said they could take home $400 to $500 in cash. An average night was $100 to $200, she said.

On cross examination, Velazquez-Mascaro said FBI agents came to her workplace in 2016 looking for Magbanua. She wasn’t there, but Velazquez-Mascaro wound up talking with the FBI agent and a Tallahassee Police Department detective. She said they took notes, but she was not aware if they were recording the conversation.

Velazquez-Mascaro says when her statement was made public, it did not accurately reflect what she said.

Prosecutors followed up and Velazquez-Mascaro said there was one thing in the report that was not accurate. It’s not clear what that one thing was.

9:45 a.m. update

Charlie Adelson’s ex-girlfriend took the stand. She says the two dated for about two years, from 2015 to 2017.

The woman says the two have talked about the Markel murder, but says Charlie Adelson has never made admissions of any kind.

“Once the case started, everything kind of changed,” she testified. She says Charlie Adelson became stressed and irrational and was “not himself.”

The prosecutor asked if he started sleeping with a gun. The woman said he usually slept with a gun.

The woman says Charlie Adelson has a safe in his home and noticed there were stacks of money stapled together.

The woman says FBI agents came to her home multiple times, banging on her door. She believes they secretly recorded their conversation in her condo lobby without her knowledge.

On cross examination, the woman said when she spoke to authorities in July 2018, she was angry with Charlie Adelson for having a baby with another woman.

The woman says she texted Charlie Adelson Wednesday as she left work and traveled to Tallahassee to testify. She said he did text back.

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