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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Katherine Magbanua Pleads Not Guilty To First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel, Trial Set For February; Prosecutors Still Hope She Will Implicate Adelsons

MagnaubaTallahassee Democrat, Katherine Magbanua Pleads Not Guilty in Markel Killing:

Katherine Magbanua is not working with investigators, instead pleading not guilty and requesting a February trial date on charges of first degree murder in the shooting of Dan Markel.

Magbanua, a prime suspect in orchestrating the murder-for-hire plot of the renowned Florida State law professor, is the third person charged in his 2014 killing.

Tuesday, she sat in the same Leon County courtroom as the suspected gunman and father of two of her children Sigfredo Garcia. The two did not make eye contact save for a quick glance after the 31-year-old Magbanua entered her plea alongside her two Miami attorneys. A trial date has been set for Feb. 27. She was indicted on first-degree murder charges last week. ...

Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said she would like to strike a deal with Magbanua similar to one made with former defendant Luis Rivera that led to her arrest.

In early October, Rivera pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 19 years in prison, which runs concurrently with an unrelated 12-year federal sentence. In his statement to police, Rivera said he Garcia and Magbanua split $100,000 in payment for killing Markel, but he was unaware of the source of the money.

At this point, Magbanua’s attorneys, Tara Kawass and Christopher M. DeCoste, are “indicating that she’s wanting to go to trial and not willing to waive her speedy trial rights at this time,” Cappleman said. That may change in the future, she added.

Cappleman said before Magbanua was arrested Oct. 1, prosecutors gave her the opportunity to tell them what she knew. She declined. But a statement from her could lead investigators to others they believe were involved in Markel’s shooting. “I would be interested in hearing a proffer from her,” Cappleman said. “I hope it could potentially implicate other co-conspirators that have not yet been indicted.” ...

At Magbanua's bond hearing Friday, Cappleman will call investigators as witnesses and lay out evidence against her. Cappleman said she will fight to keep Magbanua in jail. At the time of Markel’s killing, she was in an intimate relationship with Charlie Adelson. She is believed by police to be the link between the family and the hit men. Cappleman will have to show Circuit Judge James Hankinson there is proof and strong evidence Magbanua was involved in the crime, a higher burden than what is needed to secure a conviction.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/12/katherine-magbanua-pleads-not-guilty-of-first-degree-murder-of-dan-markel-trial-set-for-february-pro.html

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Comments

She will probably walk. Why? There's no evidence of intent. Take that to the bank.

Posted by: James Comey (FBI) | Dec 7, 2016 10:39:03 AM

Honestly, could the State's Attorney be any more incompetent? She literally came out on the record and said they have no case against the Adelsons without Magbanua's testimony. First of all, that isn't even true. The case against Charlie Adelson and Donna Adelson is quite strong as it is--especially know that Rivera can testify to Magbanua's role. Second, even if this is what you believed internally, why say it publicly and give Magbanua and the Adelsons all of this leverage?

This prosecution is a total debacle.

Posted by: JM | Dec 7, 2016 12:07:52 PM

Gotta love modern day America - celebratory melting pot of multi-culti murder conspirators.

Posted by: sca721 | Dec 7, 2016 1:07:30 PM

Three possible reasons why she isn't cooperating with the prosecution: one, she really is innocent; two, she and/or her lawyer thinks the prosecutors' case is so weak they'll never get a conviction; or three, she has some motive we don't know about (she was either promised something in exchange for her silence or was threatened if she did speak).

Posted by: Barbara | Dec 7, 2016 3:57:34 PM

@ Barbara,

I would go with a fourth reason. The prosecution has already told the world they need her to make a deal to testify against the Adelsons. She is holding out as a negotiation tactic. She probably wants 7 years, which amounts the same actual number of years given to Rivera when subtracting for concurrent sentencing. Prosecution is probably looking for 19 years - the actual number given to Rivera. Why would Magbanua ever settle until a minute before trial. She knows the State's Attorney is comprised of a bunch of cowards, and that they will avoid a trial at all costs.

State's Attorney should arrest the Adelsons now and take away all leverage for Magbanua. Without that leverage, Magbanua will make a deal for the 19 years before trial, which would be scheduled well ahead of any trial for the Adelsons. Now, the State has testimony and the Adelsons already in custody.

Posted by: JM | Dec 8, 2016 6:30:53 AM

Three possible reasons why she isn't cooperating with the prosecution: one, she really is innocent;

She isn't.


two, she and/or her lawyer thinks the prosecutors' case is so weak they'll never get a conviction;

Calculate the hourly for her work for the Adelson practice as verified by security cam footage (cross-checked with her time sheets from her actual employer).

Posted by: Art Deco | Dec 8, 2016 10:15:16 PM

"Cappleman will have to show Circuit Judge James Hankinson there is proof and strong evidence Magbanua was involved in the crime, a higher burden than what is needed to secure a conviction."

That's the burden for bond when awaiting trial for murder in Florida? Interesting.

Posted by: Diogenes | Dec 9, 2016 5:38:45 PM