Markel murder trial day 6: Retired, undercover FBI agent takes stand

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 4, 2019

The Dan Markel murder trial is now in its sixth day.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Day six of the Dan Markel murder trial is underway.

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.

Day 6 Wrap


An under cover FBI agent took the stand Friday afternoon in the trial of two people accused of murdering an FSU law professor.

The agent was used to create concern among conspirators.
In an effort to find a smoking gun in this case and undercover FBI agent approached Donna Adelson.

She's the mother of the slain FSU Law Professor's ex-wife.
In April 2016, more than a month before the first arrest in he Markel murder, an undercover FBI agent approached Donna Adelson.

"We know that your family has been taking care of Katie and her friend for quite some time after your problem up north ad been solved," said the agent a video of the encounter.

Police believe that she's at the bottom of a conspiracy to kill her son-in-law, over his refusal to allow the couple's two children to move to South Florida.

"And I want to let you know that my brother, he's incarcerated, he helped your family with this problem that you guys had up north and we want to make sure that, he's going through some rough times and we want to make sure that you take care of what he's going through the way you're taking care of Katie," said the agent.

Friday the FBI agent took the stand.

“Well the purpose of a bump is to approach the target or the individual and try to start a conversation," said the agent.

What happened next, say prosecutors was a series of conversations among the conspirators.

Those wire taps will be played on Monday.

No one in the Adelson family has been charged in this case and the family through its attorney denies any involvement.

The jury is expected to get the case next week.

4:30 p.m. update

After a lengthy testimony from a financial crimes investigator, a retired, undercover FBI agent took the stand in day six of the Markel murder trial.

11:30 a.m. update

A financial crimes and white collar crimes investigator is now on the stand.

Mary Hull says she reviewed bank records as part of the Markel murder investigation, including records from Sigfredo Garcia, Katherine Magbanua and Luis Rivera, as well as Wendi, Charlie, Harvey and Donna Adelson and their dental practice, the Adelson Institute.

Hull testified that the Adelsons have more than 30 bank and investment accounts while Garcia, RIvera, and Magbanua each have one checking and savings account.

Hull testified that she also reviewed Magbanua’s employment records, which were subpoenaed from the Adelson Institute, along with her tax returns, breast augmentation records and motor vehicle records on a black Lexus.

Hull testified that within four months of Markel’s murder, Garcia bought a Monte Carlo coupe, a Honda motorcycle and a gold Nissan. The Monte Carlo was bought just eight days after the murder.

Hull testified that Rivera purchased two vehicles - both within weeks of the murder. One was a motorcycle 10 days later, next was a Camry three days after that.

Hull also noted a dramatic change in Rivera’s banking behavior right after the murder. She says before July 2014, Rivera would deposit his paycheck, withdraw most of it in cash and frequently bounce checks.

After the murder, Hull testified there were very few cash withdrawals and overdrafts. Hull testified Rivera’s pattern of cash withdrawals and bounced checks resumed in November.

10:15 a.m. update

Attorneys continue an exhaustive review of cell phone records in the Markel murder case.

Tallahassee Police Department Sgt. Chris Corbitt testified that of the more than 300,000 cell phone calls and texts they reviewed spanning several years, Luis Rivera made only one phone call to Katherine Magbanua and it was the morning after the murder.

Corbitt also testified that based on the locations of Rivera and Magbanua’s cell phones the morning after the murder, it could be consistent with meeting for a money drop.

The state suggesting that’s also consistent with Rivera’s testimony about meeting Magbanua and Garcia the morning of July 19 to get paid for the murder.

9:30 a.m. update

It’s the sixth day of testimony in the Dan Markel murder case. Factor in jury selection and the trial of Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua now spans two weeks.

Tallahassee Police Sgt. Chris Corbitt was back on the witness stand Friday morning to testify about cell phone records in the case. Corbitt spent hours on the stand Thursday afternoon.

Corbitt testified that Luis Rivera’s cell phone records show his phone was communicating with two cell towers near Markel’s home on Trescott Drive the morning of the murder.

Magbanua’s attorneys are now asking for information about calls the day after Markel’s murder. Those calls place Rivera in Miami Beach that morning and Magbanua in Miami that morning, he said.

Corbitt said both Garcia and Rivera stopped using their phones soon after the murder, but Magbanua continued to use her same phone.

The jury is now down to 12 jurors and one alternate after a juror was excused Thursday afternoon due to illness.

Before Friday’s testimony began, the judge addressed reports that one of the witnesses was watching the livestream of testimony in the hallway outside the courtroom before taking the stand herself. He asked all the attorneys what they wanted to do about that and none of the attorneys sought any action.

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