Katherine Magbanua denied bond

Published: Dec. 6, 2016 at 11:41 AM EST
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By: Erin Lisch

December 9, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Still in shackles, Katherine Magbanua sits before the judge accused as the middle man in the murder for hire plot of Dan Markel.

The only person who's talked, Luis Rivera. He's already pleaded guilty and is the state's biggest weapon in the case against her.

Prosectuor Georgia Cappleman said, "I think the direct testimony of Rivera saying I was in the room with her, she paid me for this murder is certainly a big piece we needed to move forward."

Rivera struck a deal with the state and will spend 19 years in prison. The defense believes he's a thug and can't take his word.

Defense attorney Tara Kawass said, "He's a convicted felon, and the deal that he got in this case is unbelievable."

Today's hearing lasted hours and included testimony from Magbanua's brother about her character.

Brother of Magbanua Erik Magbanua said, "I think she's great I'm the god parent of both kids and she's done an outstanding job."

In the end the defense’s effors fell short, Magbanua’s bond was denied.

Defense attorney Christopher Decoste said, "We know that Justice was kicked out of that car and the only thing driving right now is ego and politics."

The defense says the state wanted this decision for one reason.

"They're trying to break her, but Katie has maintained her innocence since day one, so what the state want's is for her to basically lie to them," said Kawass

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman says they would still strike a deal with her, "I would love to hear what she has to say."

The defense says they will go before the first district court and appeal this decision. The other defendant in this case is Sigfredo Garcia like Magbanua, he too has been charged with 1st degree murder.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

December 9, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A woman accused in the 2014 murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel has been denied bond.

Katherine Magbanua was asking to be released on bond while awaiting trial.

"With that evidence that we saw in there today - Detective Isom himself said I do not trust Luis Rivera - we know that justice was kicked out of that car and the only thing driving right now is ego and politics," Magbanua's attorney Christopher DeCoste said after the hearing.

Magbanua's attorneys argued the state's case hinges on the testimony of co-defendant Luis Rivera and tried to point out inconsistencies in his statements to police.

"I think the main thing that he says, which is that we were hired by Katie on behalf of the Adlesons to come here and do this killing, makes perfect sense with all the other evidence in the case," prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said after the hearing, "and that's the main piece that I was after."

The state called two police officers to the stand and the defense called Magbanua's brother Erik to testify as a character witness.

The hearing lasted nearly six hours.

Katherine Magbanua is one of three people who have been arrested in connection with the murder, but more arrests in the future are possible.

Investigators believe Magbanua is the link between the two men allegedly hired for the murder and the family of Markel's ex-wife.

Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera were also arrested in connection with the murder. Rivera has since accepted a plea deal with prosecutors.

Magbanua will remain in jail until her trial begins.

By: Julie Montanaro

December 9, 2016

1 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Katherine Magbanua's defense attorney is now cross examining TPD's lead investigator Craig Isom.

"This case rests on the shoulders of Luis Rivera, you'd agree with me on that?" Defense attorney Christopher DeCoste asked.

"No," Isom said.

DeCoste claims Rivera met with police seven times, including on October 4th when police videotaped his statement.

DeCoste is questioning Rivera's credibility. He says Rivera drove around in a car with police explaining where things happened and trying to find the murder weapon. He also contends Rivera had plenty of time to change his story.

Investigator Isom admits that Rivera was wrong about the timing of a traffic citation.

"He was wrong about a lot of things, wasn't he?" the defense attorney asked.

DeCoste then started pointing out inconsistencies in Rivera's story including that he hasn't been able provide the correct phone number for Katherine Magbanua even though he told them he knew "Katie's number by heart," and flip-flopping when asked who rented the car the men used to visit Tallahassee the month before the murder.

DeCoste is also questioning Isom about Rivera's statement that he saw Wendi Adelson and her children before noon the day before the murder.

DeCoste presented Isom with records from the children's day care which indicate the children were there from 8:30 a.m until 4:45 p.m. so Rivera was wrong about that too, DeCoste said.

By: Julie Montanaro

December 9, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Katherine Magbanua - one of three people accused in the murder of FSU professor - is asking to be released on bond to await trial.

The Tallahassee Police Department's lead investigator on the case is on the stand now.

He testified that Rivera told police that when he and Sigfredo Garcia were driving home after Markel's murder, Garcia called Magbanua and said "It's done" and Rivera heard Magbanua respond "I know." Rivera also said Garcia made it clear they wanted to be paid "as soon as they got back to Miami."

Investigator Craig Isom testified that according to Rivera, he, Garcia and Magbanua all met the next morning and Magbanua paid them "for the murder."

Isom also testified a review of Magbanua's bank records shows Magbanua deposited $56,000 in cash and $44,000 in checks from the Adelson family's dental practice in the year following Markel's murder.

Magbanua's legal team continues to object to much of the testimony calling it "speculation" but the judge is consistently overruling his objections.

Defense attorney Christopher DeCoste claims prosecutors in the case are "willfully" refusing to turn over evidence in the case. DeCoste says the state Fed Ex'd a 12 pound box of discs and documents - what he called a "cornucopia" of evidence - the day before today's hearing.

They contend prosecutors are being flippant and uncooperative and that, DeCoste says, is "indicative of the strength of their case."

DeCoste says the state "desperately" wants Magbanua "to lie, not to cooperate."

The state is outlining its evidence against Magbanua in great detail in hopes of keeping Magbanua in jail until her trial.

By: Julie Montanaro

December 6, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A woman accused in the murder of FSU professor Dan Markel will stand trial for it early next year.

Katherine Magbanua entered a not guilty plea and the judge set her trial date for February 27, 2017.

In court, she sat just feet away from her boyfriend Sigfredo Garcia. He is the accused trigger man in the same murder for hire plot.

A third defendant already entered a plea in the case in exchange for his testimony against them.

Magbanua will be back in court Friday asking to be released on bond while awaiting trial.

A third defendant already entered a plea in the case in exchange for his testimony against them.

Magbanua will be back in court Friday to request she be released on bond while awaiting trial.