Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Grand Jury Charges Katherine Magbanua With First Degree Murder In Killing Of Dan Markel

MagnaubaFollowing up on yesterday's post:  Tallahassee Democrat, Katherine Magbanua Indicted on First-Degree Murder Charges in Dan Markel Case:

Prosecutors secured a murder indictment of Katherine Magbanua, a prime suspect in orchestrating the July 2014 shooting of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

After hearing from police investigators and Luis Rivera, one of two men suspected of carrying out the murder-for-hire, grand jurors Tuesday charged the 31-year-old with first-degree murder.

She is the suspected link between Markel’s former in-laws and two men, Sigfredo Garcia and Rivera, charged with his murder.

Magbanua has two children with Garcia, who has an extensive criminal record. She was arrested on Oct. 1 in Broward County and is being held in the Leon County Jail.

Investigators believe she is the go-between for the family of Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson, whose brother, Charlie Adelson, and mother, Donna Adelson, have been linked to the murder-for-hire plot by investigators but have not been charged. ...

“The ball is largely in her court as far as whether she wants to cooperate,” said Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman. “The next step is to prosecute her, but of course, if she wanted to make a deal and give up additional guilty parties then that would change things.”

News 4 JAX, Murder Indictment Issued for Mom in Connection With FSU Professor's Death:

Prosecutors hope the indictment of Katherine Magbanua will lead investigators to others responsible for the professor’s death. ... 

Prosecutors hope indicting Magbanua with first-degree murder will convince her to cooperate, as well. “That’s the only person we are asking them to consider today,” Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said. “She could be (the key to further arrests in the case).”

Daily Mail, Brother-in-Law's Ex Girlfriend Is Charged With Murdering FSU Law Professor Who Was Gunned Down in His Car in the Middle of Ugly Divorce:

Cappleman said Magbanua could lead to more arrests in the case in the future, but for now prosecutors are not planning to charge the Adelsons. 'It's hard to present the case without mentioning the Adelson family,' she said. 'But, as I said, we are not asking the grand jury to review the case for any indictments against any Adelsons today.'

WTXL, Magbanua Indicted on First Degree Murder Charges:

Katherine Magbanua's Attorney filed a motion on Monday saying that her team was not given copies of recordings and documents they've requested. In that motion they shared emails between themselves and the State Attorney's Office, one email showing a member of prosecution calling Magbanua's Attorney a "jerk."

The defense is asking a judge to step in and order the state to turn over all items they have requested. A decision has not yet been made.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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Yeah. It's a game of negotiation chicken. Any deal is going to include jail time, obviously - she won't get off of this scot-free. But I would think that the State will ultimately blink first if it wants the Adelsons.

Posted by: polter | Dec 1, 2016 4:04:23 PM

She might be thinking that the prosecutor needs her testimony against the people who hired her badly enough to give her the deals she wants, and she's probably right. If, as the police allege, she was the go-between for the Adelsons and the killers, who had no contact with the family, the prosecutor may realize that her testimony is vital in order to arrest the family members.

Posted by: Barbara | Dec 1, 2016 1:54:29 PM

She has probably been thinking that she could get as good a deal as Rivero, or perhaps she's been even more unrealistic than that. She should be more amenable to whatever deal the State is offering, now that she's been indicted for first degree murder.

Posted by: Travis | Dec 1, 2016 3:53:04 AM

She would be stupid not to negotiate a plea bargain. The prosecutors have more than just Luis Rivera's testimony against her; there is also the money trail. She made cash deposits for a total of $56,000 - where does a single mom working as a part-time receptionist get that kind of money? She also received regular paychecks from the Adelson family's dental clinic (all handwritten and signed by Donna Adelson!) even though she was not employed by the clinic.

Posted by: Barbara Noetzel | Nov 30, 2016 11:42:57 AM

I wonder how her fake front will go over in jail?

Posted by: TheTurk | Nov 30, 2016 7:43:23 AM

Stay strong, Katherine! Be the fall guy for a bunch of rich a-holes!

Posted by: polter | Nov 30, 2016 4:50:51 AM