Man convicted in Markel murder discusses details of scheme

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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
October 11, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A recorded confession by the getaway driver in the murder-for-hire of an FSU law professor appears to indicate that the ex-wife was aware of the plan before it was carried out. But proving that may come down to how much the latest person charged in the case cooperates.

Katie Magbanua was nervous as a cat as she waited for the judge in her video first appearance.

She is the mother of two children fathered by accused triggerman Sigfredo Garcia.

The 32-year-old was brought to Tallahassee Monday after being charged earlier this month with the murder of law professor Dan Markel.

Magbanua was arrested when getaway driver Luis Rivera started talking.

“Katie is the one in the middle doing everything. Put it like that,” Rivera told detectives.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman says Magbanua is the key to tying the law professor’s ex-wife’s family to the murder plot.

Cappleman says, “If I was to be able to charge a member of the family as being implicated as part of the conspiracy, I would require a witness, possibly such as Ms. Magbanua.”

Luis Rivera told investigators he learned early on about the motive for the hit.

“That lady wants her two kids back. She wants full custody of the kids,” Rivera said.

As Rivera and alleged triggerman Garcia cruised Markel's neighborhood the day before the murder, Rivera told investigators they saw Wendi Adelson, walking with her two kids.

Rivera told authorities he thought, “What is she doing up here? She came to make sure everything is alright because he’s leaving out of town tomorrow.”

“Do you believe this implicates her?” we asked prosecutor Cappleman.

“I think if it’s true, it implicates her, but I haven’t been able to confirm or deny that,” Cappleman said.

And because of the taped confession, we now know the three co-conspirators divided up a $100,000 the day after the murder.

Police have long suspected the law professor’s former brother-in-law and his parents in the conspiracy, but the addition of the ex-wife in the new testimony has come as a surprise to many close to the case.

Lawyers for the Adelson family maintain their innocence and no charges have been filed against them.

By: Erin Lisch
October 10, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- New video has been released showing convicted murderer Luis Rivera speaking with authorities about the murder-for-hire case of Florida State University professor Dan Markel.

Authorities ask Rivera, "He showed you a picture of Markel, and said ya'll were going to go kill him?"

Luis Rivera replied, “Mmhmm.”

Rivera says his best friend Sigfredo Garcia was supposed to be the one to shoot Markel.

"The lady, wants her two kids back, she wants full custody of the kids," said Rivera.

Rivera would get $37,000 from Garcia to be back up in the murder, but Rivera says he wanted to do something else.

"We should just go rob her, that was my intention. I don't got nothing against that guy, I don't even know that guy, especially after he told me about it was for the two kids," said Rivera.

After a failed attempted to kill Markel, a month later they returned to Tallahassee. That was when Markel was shot and killed.

"Garcia jumps out goes around the car where he was driving I think Markel was on the phone that day... shot him twice and left,” said Rivera.

However, Rivera says they weren't the only two involved.

"I know Katie's voice, I'm 100% sure she was in this the whole time."

Rivera says Katherine 'Katie' Magbanua was the facilitator, "Katie is the middle man."

Garcia will go to trial in November where Rivera is slated to testify against Garcia and Magbanua.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
October 10, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The latest suspect to be arrested in the murder of Florida State University professor Dan Markel has been brought to Leon County.

The Leon County Sheriff's office confirms that Katherine Magbanua was booked into the Leon County Jail Monday.

Magbanua was arrested in Broward County earlier this month and charged with first degree murder in connection with the case.

Tallahassee Police say around the time of the murder Magbanua was in a relationship with Charlie Adelson, Markel's former brother-in-law.

Police say Magbanua is the only tie between Markel and the other two suspects charged in the case, Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera. Police say Garcia is the father of Magbanua's two children.

At this time, Charlie Adelson has not been charged in the case.

Last week, Luis Rivera entered a plea deal in the case and was sentenced to 19 years in prison. As part of the deal, Rivera pleaded guilty but was spared the possibility of a life sentence. However, the plea agreement requires Rivera to testify against co-defendants Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua.

Stay with for the latest on the case.

By: Julie Montanaro
October 3, 2016

Another arrest in the murder of FSU professor Dan Markel.

This time, it's the woman police suspect of linking the accused killers to the family of Markel's ex-wife.

We first reported the arrest Saturday night.

Now we are awaiting Katherine Magbanua’s extradition to Leon County to face charges.

Magbanua was arrested in Broward County on Saturday.

She's facing first degree murder charges in connection with Markel’s 2014 murder and will be extradited to Leon County. A spokesman with the Leon County Sheriff's Office would not say when that is likely to happen.

Tallahassee Police say Magbanua is the girlfriend of murder suspect Sigfredo Garcia and the ex-girlfriend of Charlie Adelson. He is the brother of Markel's ex-wife.

Just last month State Attorney Willie Meggs said there was not enough evidence to seek a warrant for Magbanua's arrest.

It's not clear what's changed. The only new additions to the arrest papers are blacked out.

"The State Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Tallahassee Police Department all worked together to get the probable cause approved by a judge,” TPD Spokesman David Northway said, “The active ongoing investigation does not allow us to discuss the details and exactly why the case is moving forward at this point."

We have reached out to Magbanua's attorney for comment but have not heard back.

Arrest papers - which are attached to this story - show phone calls among Magbanua, Garcia, Charlie Adelson, Wendi Adelson and their mother Donna Adelson the day of the murder.

Arrest papers also include financial records which indicate Magbanua started receiving checks from the Adelson’s dental practice after the murder and made cash deposits in excess of $50,000.

Attorneys for the Adelson family have repeatedly denied any involvement.

Magbanua is the third suspect to be arrested in the professor's murder. Luis Rivera is slated to go to trial later this month. Sigfredo Garcia is set for trial in November.

Both men have pre-trial hearings this week.

"TPD is constantly striving to move forward in this case. We've said all along that we're going to work the case to the very very end. We're continuing to follow all of our leads, interview all of our witnesses and develop any new leads or witnesses that come in,” Officer Northway said. “So, if anyone has any new information about the case, we will track it down, we will work to the end to bring this case to an end for the Markel family, so they can grieve properly."

By: Erika Fernandez
October 2, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- New police records indicate that suspect Katherine Magbanua will be extradited.

Police say Magbanua is the suspected link between the family of Dan Markel's ex-wife and the two men accused of shooting Markel.

Police say that Magbanua is the connection between Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, and Markel's former brother-in-law, Charlie Adelson.

No members of the Adelson family have been charged in the case.

Magbanua was arrested in Broward County and charged with first degree murder in connection with the case.

To view the probable cause affidavit, click here.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
October 1, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A new suspected link is in police custody in the Dan Markel murder for hire case.

Katherine Magbanua is the suspected link between Dan Markel's ex-wife and the two men accused of shooting him.

Police say that Magbanua connected Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera with the family of Wendi Adelson.

Magbanua was arrested in Broward County and charged with first degree murder in connection with the case.

No word if she will be extradited.

Rivera and Garcia's cases are set to begin within the coming months.

Katherine Magbanua / Leon County Sheriff's Office

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