Dan Markel Murder: Trial dates set for two key suspects

Published: Dec. 19, 2017 at 2:01 PM EST
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By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News

January 3, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- New trial dates are now set for the man and woman accused of killing Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

Katherine Magbanua was in court Wednesday morning asking for a delay. Her attorneys estimated they've completed about half of the necessary depositions.

The judge set Magbanua's trial for October 8 and told prosecutors he is not inclined to try her at the same time as co-defendant Sigfredo Garcia. Garcia is set to stand trial July 9 and is facing the death penalty.

The pair was previously scheduled to stand trial January 22.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman says she would still like the two to be tried together, but Magbanua's defense attorneys say they will fight that request in court if it's filed.

Defense attorneys Tara Kawass and Christopher DeCoste are confident they can try Magbanua's case in two weeks and right now are not planning to request a change of venue.

"I meant what I said ... That we're not long winded in there. Get right to the heart of the matter," DeCoste said. "I think two weeks is realistic."

"The picking of the jury I think is what would make this case a little longer than other murder cases," Kawass said. "In that we're going to have to find jurors in Tallahassee that do not know anything about the case which is probably going to be a little difficult and lengthy."

Co-defendant Luis Rivera has already accepted a plea deal to testify against Magbanua and Garcia.

The trio is accused in a murder for hire plot. They're accused of killing Dan Markel with a shot to the head as he pulled into his garage in July 2014.

"Are you any closer to making any additional arrests?"

"I can't comment on any ongoing investigations," prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said.

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News

December 19, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A judge has granted a delay in one of Tallahassee's most high profile murder cases.

Defense attorneys for Sigfredo Garcia asked for, and received, a six month delay in his trial.

Defense attorney Saam Zanganeh called the volume of evidence in the case "overwhelming." He says in addition to video discs, the number of documents is "approaching one million."

The judge granted the delay. Circuit Judge James Hankinson said he has delayed the trial twice and doesn't intend to delay it again.

Garcia is accused of shooting and killing Florida State University law professor Dan Markel at his home in July 2014. Co-defendant Katherine Magbanua is still awaiting trial. Co-defendant Luis Rivera opted for a plea deal and is expected to testify against both of them.

The judge is hoping to set a new trial date for Garcia at a hearing on January 3.

Garcia and Magbanua are scheduled to be tried together, but the prosecutor hinted at Tuesday's hearing that she hasn't ruled out asking for separate trials.