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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Dan Markel Murder Investigation: Why Was Katherine Magbanua's First Degree Murder Charge Reduced To Second Degree Murder?

MagnaubaAbove the Law, The Dan Markel Case: Is Katherine Magbanua Cutting A Deal?:

A source of mine on the ground in Tallahassee alerted me to an interesting change in the criminal docket for Katherine Magbanua, the woman accused of acting as a conduit in the Dan Markel murder between the two alleged hitmen and whoever ordered Professor Markel’s murder.

When Katie Magbanua was arrested earlier this month in connection with the crime, she was charged with first-degree murder. ... [A]t some point between last week and today, Katherine Magbanua’s exposure got downgraded from first-degree to second-degree murder. What might this mean?

One possibility: Magbanua has entered into a plea agreement and is cooperating with the police. This would not be shocking. ...

Christopher DeCoste, who together with Tara Kawass represents Katherine Magbanua, contacted us to deny that his client is working with the government:

Katherine is not entering into any agreement with the government; she’s innocent. Today’s filing could be a defensive move by the government. A Florida prosecutor can file an information (charging document) for all crimes except capital offenses, which require a Grand Jury indictment, but they are not always in session. Had they not filed something today, the 21st day, the Defense could move for an Adversary Preliminary Hearing, which turns into a mini-trial and can result in an outright release. Maybe the government was fearful that they would not win that hearing. What truly “would not be shocking” is if they did parade their facts before the Grand Jury and the response was no true bill. Remember, on October 6 Assistant State Attorney Cappleman admitted there was insufficient evidence to move forward against Katherine. What this means is their entire case rests on the unreliable word of a convicted gangster. No way a reasonable person would believe a single world coming from that thug’s mouth.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/10/the-dan-markel-murder-investigation-why-was-katherine-magbanuas-first-degree-murder-charge-reduced-t.html

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Comments

is not entering into any agreement with the government

Note the use of the present tense: "is not". Not "will not". In particular, this statement could be literally true even if there are ongoing discussions toward a plea deal.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Oct 25, 2016 4:31:46 AM

Ha, that convicted gangster and thug is besties with Katherine and her kids' dad. I guess her word is as pure as the driven snow with that one degree of separation being all the difference in the world.

Posted by: Daniel | Oct 25, 2016 7:27:28 AM

Luis Rivera 'wasn't co-operating' until he was. (And I don't think Cappleman ever made any such admission).

Posted by: Art Deco | Oct 25, 2016 8:18:58 AM

Oddly, the Tallahassee Democrat has deleted today's story entitled "Katherine Magbanua's charges reduced to second-degree murder". It didn't contain any reason for the reduction in charge. I wonder if the authorities requested deletion of the story for the time being.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Oct 25, 2016 5:56:38 PM

Per my source at the TPD. She gave all the information today. We will see some arrests soon.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 25, 2016 6:39:16 PM

I hope your source is accurate, Jen! Thanks for the update!

Posted by: yippee | Oct 25, 2016 7:40:54 PM

"No way a reasonable person would believe a single world coming from that thug’s mouth."

And he knows this how? Putz. Happens. All. The. Time.

Love the writers inferentially rooting for the wrongly accused family (haha) and not justice for the murdered.

Posted by: Diogenes | Oct 26, 2016 5:41:07 AM

Thank you, Jen. That's very reassuring. May ustice be done and these murderers and conspirators be incarcerated for years to come!

Posted by: AnonProf | Oct 26, 2016 9:00:31 AM

Oddly, the Tallahassee Democrat has deleted today's story entitled "Katherine Magbanua's charges reduced to second-degree murder". It didn't contain any reason for the reduction in charge. I wonder if the authorities requested deletion of the story for the time being.

There's a cache copy. The story was by Karl Etters. I wonder if it was deleted for errors. It does say something that I hadn't heard before and wonder if it is true. It says Garcia called Wendi by name when they saw her the day before.

Posted by: Art Deco | Oct 26, 2016 9:09:04 AM

Jen, giving the police information off the record is one step, but negotiating a plea agreement may take a lot longer if the two sides are far apart on terms.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Oct 26, 2016 12:32:32 PM