Following up on Sunday's post, Katherine Magbanua (Mother Of Hit Man's Children, Worker In Adelson Dental Practice, Girlfriend Of Charlie Adelson) Charged With Murder of Dan Markel:
Tallahassee Democrat, Police: Magbanua Was 'Conduit' in Markel Slaying:
Police suspect a South Florida love triangle provided the guns and money to kill Florida State law professor Dan Markel.
Katherine Magbanua, the woman investigators believe is the go-between for the family of Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson and the men suspected of killing him, was arrested Saturday in Broward County. She faces a murder charge in the 41-year-old's death. ... It's an arrest, court documents suggest, that could put investigators closer to the Adelsons, the wealthy owners of a Tamarac dentist office who were determined to move Markel and Wendi's two young boys from Tallahassee to South Florida. ...
Court documents said Magbanua shares two children with Garcia, a career criminal, but was in a "personal relationship" with Charlie Adelson, a periodontist, around the time of the murder. Cell phone records show she was in constant contact with Garcia, Rivera and Charlie Adelson in the weeks and hours before the crime.
The court documents supporting her arrest, which were released by TPD on Sunday, are clear: The 31-year-old is the only apparent link between Markel and Garcia and Rivera. The trio, court documents said, "were compensated for their actions."
The 18-page probable cause affidavit, which was signed Friday, comes three weeks after State Attorney Willie Meggs said he would not approve arrests for Magbanua and Charlie Adelson. Meggs told the Tallahassee Democrat in early September there wasn't enough evidence for their arrests to hold up in court.
David Oscar Markus, the attorney for Charlie Adelson, said Magbanua's arrest "smacks of utter desperation." "It's sad that the police have arrested Katie when just last week the prosecution said there was no basis to proceed," he said. "They are trying to pressure a single mom who has no priors by threatening to make her little kids orphans. That's not how our criminal justice system is supposed to work."
The investigators who analyzed the cell phone records in the case were able to detect a call pattern, which they said showed Magbanua as the bridge between the Adelsons and the suspected killers.
Calls among the group typically worked this way, court records said: Magbanua would call Charlie Adelson, who would call his mother Donna, while Magbanua talked to Garcia.
Two and a half weeks before the crime, investigators said there was a "flurry" of contact between "the alleged conspirators." On Sept. 1, Magbanua and Charlie Adelson's cell phones were pinpointed in the area near his home. That same day, Magbanua reached out to Garcia 48 times before getting a hold of him. They talked six minutes, and shortly after, Garcia called Harvey Adelson's cell phone, which went to voicemail.
Magbanua talked to Garcia and Charlie Adelson several times that night. At one point, Magbanua also called Harvey Adelson, a call which also went voicemail, and then called Rivera a minute later. The calls ended shortly before 1 a.m. with an 11-minute conversation between Charlie Adelson and his father.
"Investigators believe this pattern is consistent with Magbanua being the conduit during the planning of Markel's murder," investigators wrote. ...
The night before Markel was murdered, while Garcia and Rivera were at the Rodeway Inn hotel on North Monroe Street, Magbanua called Garcia, then Charlie. Charlie made contact with his mother shortly after 1 a.m. and then called Magbanua back a minute later.
While Markel worked out at Premier Gym, Charlie Adelson talked to his mom once and Magbanua four times. Minutes after Markel was shot, Donna Adelson would talk to her son twice. Minutes later, Charlie talked to Magbanua.
Just days after Markel was killed, Magbanua started receiving paychecks from the Adelson Institute for Aesthetics and Implant Dentistry, the family's dentist practice.
The checks were each for $407.58 and were handwritten and signed by Donna Adelson. Court documents said the checks looked as if they were all written at the same time, each for a 10-day pay period. According to the court documents, the checks came even though surveillance revealed that Magbanua had only been to the institute once. Over the next 16 months, Magbanua's bank accounts ballooned by more than $56,000, mostly because of cash deposits.
Meanwhile, investigators said Charlie Adelson did all he could to keep Magbanua happy.
She drove a 2001 Lexus formerly belonging to Harvey Adelson and then bought it at a bargain price. In April of this year, Charlie Adelson bought Garcia a GoPro camera for his birthday, but Magbanua said he should have given him his Ferrari. Charlie Adelson also offered to sell Magbanua his 18-foot bay boat. He later offered her his Range Rover, titled in Harvey Adelson's name.
Garcia and Rivera also came into some money after Markel's murder. In the four weeks after the killing, Garcia bought a 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a 2000 Nissan Maxima and a 1997 Honda yellow motorcycle. The week after the murder, Rivera bought a 2003 Suzuki motorcycle. A December 2014 Facebook photo shows the two posing with their new motorcycles.
"In addition, examination of Magbanua's Facebook profile before and after the homicide show images of Magbanua with obvious breast enhancements following the murder," the probable cause statement says.
- ABA Journal, Third Suspect Is Arrested in Slaying of Law Prof Dan Markel
- Above the Law, The Dan Markel Case: Katherine Magbanua Arrested And Charged With Murder
- Florida Politics, New Arrest Made in Case of FSU Law Professor’s Slaying
- LawNewz, Third Arrest Made in Alleged Murder-for-Hire of FSU Law Professor
- New York Daily News, Florida Woman Arrested in Connection With 2014 Murder of Florida State Law Professor Dan Markel
- Palm Beach Post, Woman Charged in Law Professor's Killing; Has Ties to His Ex
- People Magazine, New Suspect Arrested in Connection with Execution-Style Killing of Florida State University Professor
- USA Today, Police: Woman the Link in Florida St. Professor's Killing
- Wall Street Journal, Third Person Charged in Murder of FSU Law Professor Dan Markel
- WCTV, New Suspect Arrested in Dan Markel Case to be Extradited
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Man Arrested In Murder Of Dan Markel (May 26, 2016)
- Dan Markel Killing Investigated As Murder for Hire, 5-6 More Arrests Expected (May 26, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death (May 31, 2016)
- Police: Dan Markel Was Killed In Murder-For-Hire Plot Orchestrated By Ex-Wife's Brother (June 2, 2016)
- Anatomy Of The Hit On Dan Markel (June 4, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death (June 6, 2016)
- Wendi Adelson Discusses Her Ex-Husband Dan Markel's Murder: Transcript And Commentary (June 8, 2016)
- Dan Markel's Law Prof Colleagues Finger Ex-Wife's Family In Murder-For-Hire Killing (June 10, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death (June 13, 2016)
- Grand Jury Indicts Two Hit Men In Dan Markel's Murder, State Attorney Expects More Indictments; Girlfriend Of Ex-Brother-in-Law Denies Ex-Wife's Family's Involvement (June 18, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death: In Defense Of Charlie Adelson (June 21, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death: Hit Men Thwarted In Previous Attempt To Kill FSU Law Prof (June 27, 2016)
- Update On Murder-For-Hire Investigation Into Dan Markel's Death: Charlie Adelson Denies 'Any Involvement' (July 3, 2016)
- Lawyer Denies Adelson Family's Involvement In Dan Markel's Murder, Fingers Florida State Law Students, PrawfsBlawg Readers As Possible Suspects (July 18, 2016)
- Today Marks Two Year Anniversary Of Dan Markel's Murder (July 18, 2016)
- The Adelson Family (Through Their Attorneys) Deny Any Involvement In Dan Markel's Murder (Aug. 3, 2016)
- Prosecutors Seek Records Showing Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Enhancement Surgery For Mother Of Hit Man's Children After Dan Markel's Murder (Aug. 20, 2016)
- Judge In Dan Markel Murder Case Approves Subpoena To See If Wendi Adelson's Brother Paid For Breast Implants For Mother Of Hit Man's Children (Aug. 23, 2016)
- Police Video Released Of Wendi Adelson Being Told Of Dan Markel's Murder, Says Her Brother Joked About Hiring A Hit Man (Aug. 27, 2016)
- FBI Interview With Ex-Girlfriend Of Dan Markel's Ex-Brother-in-Law/Mother Of Hit Man's Children (Aug. 28, 2016)
- Adelson Family Will Not Be Charged In Dan Markel's Murder Despite Circumstantial Evidence Released By Police (Including $1 Million Offer To Allow Children To Move To Miami, Communication And Money Trail To Hit Men) (Sept. 9, 2016)
- Police Reach Out To Feds As Tensions Flare With Prosecutor Over Decision Not To Charge Adelson Family In Markel Murder; Ex-Brother-in-Law Discussed Killing Undercover Agent (Sept. 10, 2016)
- ABC News To Feature Dan Markel Murder Case On Friday's 20/20 Program (Sept. 14, 2016)
- Last Night's ABC News 20/20 Program On The Dan Markel Murder: In-Laws & Outlaws (Sept. 17, 2016)
- Judge Denies Change Of Venue In Trial Of Markel's Alleged Hit Man; Defense Seeks Testimony Of Other Possible Perpetrators (Sept. 29, 2016)
- Katherine Magbanua (Mother Of Hit Man's Children, Worker In Adelson Dental Practice, Girlfriend Of Charlie Adelson) Charged With Murder of Dan Markel (Oct. 2, 2016)