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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Prosecutors Zero In On Adelson Family After Plea Deal With Hit Man, Arrest Of Accomplice In Markel Murder

Adelson FamilyNational Law Journal, Police Zero In On Murdered Law Prof’s In-laws, Experts Say:

Prosecutors likely hope that by arresting Magbanua and charging her as an accomplice in Markel’s murder—not with a lesser crime such as accessory to murder—she will strike a deal and implicate Charlie Adelson and perhaps his mother, Donna Adelson, as the architects of the murder, said Charles Rose III, a law professor at Stetson University College of Law.

“They’re trying to get her to roll,” Rose said, noting it’s a common tactic to try and cut a deal with the least culpable person in a criminal enterprise. “They’ve put Katherine between a rock and a hard place. They’re trying to get her to provide the piece of information the prosecutors don’t yet have that will get an indictment of the Adelsons.”

Bringing the most serious charge gives the prosecution room to negotiate a deal in which Magbanua could plead guilty to a lesser crime in exchange for statements implicating the Adelsons, Rose said. ...

It’s likely that prosecutors have more evidence they haven’t made public, but releasing a steady stream of details about the investigation is a psychological tactic intended to rattle the Adelsons—their ultimate target, Rose said.

Defendants, Rose said, tend to “cut the best deal they can for themselves.” He added, “There’s not a lot of honor among criminals. I’d be looking for an indictment of one or more members of the Adelson family.”

Tallahassee Democrat, Prosecutor: Plea Deal a 'Necessary Evil' in Markel Case:

Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said getting Rivera's help is a step forward in bringing to justice others she believes are involved in the plot. “It’s a necessary evil,” Cappleman said. “Otherwise, you’re looking at the possibility of other culpable parties not facing any ramifications for their role in the crime.”

Investigators say Markel’s former in-laws orchestrated the 41-year-old’s killing. ...

Charlie Adelson's attorney said the deal with Rivera was an attempt to elicit any information from a desperate man facing life in prison. "The prosecution admittedly didn't have enough evidence so it went out and bought some by giving away the farm to a murderer. This convicted gangster knows the game and would have said anything not to come out of prison in a box," said David Oscar Markus in a statement. "Seven years is just offensive. The prosecution literally threatened him with the needle to get this testimony. That's not a search for the truth. That's a deal with the devil." ...

Meanwhile, Cappleman said she wasn’t overly thrilled with the sentence for Rivera, the North Miami tribe leader of the Latin Kings, a national gang. But his trial testimony could mean the difference in securing several more convictions in Markel’s murder, she said. “You can understand why it was necessary to move forward and try to hold everyone accountable that has a part in this crime,” she said. “I could not have moved forward without something else other than what I had prior to Mr. Rivera’s cooperation.”

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/10/prosecutors-zero-in-on-adelson-family-after-plea-deal-with-hit-man-arrest-of-accomplice-in-markel-mu.html

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Comments

Now that Rivera has confirmed that Magbanua was the conduit, the case against the Adelsons is far stronger even without Manganua's testimony. It is much easier to make the case that all of the phone calls in rapid succession between Garcia, Magbanua and Charlie were about the murder. Rivera should be able to testify that that first call after the murder that went to Kate was to report that the job was done. He will also testify that Magbanua provided the money, and where else could she plausibly get it other than those payments from the Adelsons.

The Adelson's defense was really predicated on a defense of Magbanua as well. That is why Charlie's attorney condemned Magbanua's arrest. The police certainly have enough to arrest Charlie and the mother at this point, so I am not sure what they are waiting for.

Posted by: JM | Oct 5, 2016 6:55:26 AM

I'm shocked. (I'm not.)

Posted by: Anon | Oct 5, 2016 9:50:58 AM

David Markus is Baghdad Bob here. The dominoes are falling and he is out there saying it means nothing. I get him trying to get out in front to discredit the impending testimony against his client, but he comes across as clueless.

Posted by: Daniel | Oct 5, 2016 12:54:13 PM

If I were Charlie, I would use the occasion of this hurricane that's about to hit to 'have an accident' and save himself the humiliation and aggravation of arrest, trial, and life in prison.

Posted by: anon | Oct 6, 2016 7:54:43 AM

The thing that Charlie Adelson has to be thinking about, now, is how to keep his mother out of prison.

Posted by: Travis | Oct 7, 2016 5:27:00 AM