Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

After Charlie Adelson's Conviction In Dan Markel's Murder, Are Wendi And Donna Next?

Following up on yesterday's post, Jury Finds Charlie Adelson Guilty On All Counts In Dan Markel's Murder:

Adelson (Wendi Donna)New York Times, Florida Dentist Convicted in Murder-for-Hire Plot Against Law Professor:

Prosecutors consider Mr. Adelson’s family members — his sister Wendi Adelson and their parents, Donna Adelson and Harvey Adelson — unindicted co-conspirators. None have been charged and all have denied any involvement. Wendi Adelson has testified with limited immunity in all three trials held in the case.

David Lat (Original Jurisdiction), The Dan Markel Case: Charlie Adelson, Convicted:

Here are answers to your FAQs—including who might be prosecuted next. ...

Charlie sounds pretty screwed. What about other members of the Adelson family?

In Charlie’s trial, his mother Donna Adelson loomed large. The prosecution cited significant evidence, including an avalanche of awful emails, suggesting that Donna was the Adelson who hated Dan the most, as well as the Adelson most intent on getting Wendi and her two sons back to South Florida—which could be achieved only by getting Dan out of the picture. I don’t recall Georgia Cappleman’s exact wording, but her basic claim was that Dan was a big problem for Donna, and because of how Donna complained to Charlie about everything, Dan became a big problem for Charlie.

So given this theory of the case, I see it as quite likely that the state will be moving against Donna. Sorry, but “I’m 73 years old and have really bad diarrhea” is not a defense to murder charges.

In her post-verdict comments to reporters, Georgia Cappleman was coy about going after other Adelsons, declining to say whether more prosecutions would be forthcoming. But when asked if the investigation was still ongoing, she answered in the affirmative. Considering that four of the co-conspirators are now behind bars, who might the “ongoing” investigation be focused on besides Donna Adelson?

What about Wendi?

This won’t be a popular opinion among many armchair detectives who want to see Wendi Adelson in an orange jumpsuit, but for better or worse, I don’t expect Wendi to be indicted anytime soon. The standard for bringing a criminal case is whether guilt can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and State Attorney Jack Campbell applies it strictly: despite an incredible amount of evidence against Charlie, Campbell didn’t arrest him until April 2022, almost eight years after the murder. [UPDATE (1:03 p.m.): Some have wondered whether Wendi has immunity from prosecution, based on her having testified at Charlie’s trial and Katie Magbanua’s two trials. Although Wendi has “use immunity,” which means that her testimony can’t be used against her, she does not have “transactional immunity,” the blanket immunity that would protect her from being prosecuted for the crimes at issue.]

In searching the New York Times website for the above article, this popped up:

New York Times, Weddings: Wendi Adelson and Dan Markel (Feb. 26, 2006):

Wendi Jill Adelson, the daughter of Donna Sue Adelson and Dr. Harvey J. Adelson of Coral Springs, Fla., is to be married this evening to Dan Eric Markel, the son of Ruth Markel and Phil Markel of Toronto. Rabbi Shaul Robinson is to officiate at Congregation B'nai Israel in Boca Raton, Fla., with Rabbi Mark W. Gross taking part in the ceremony.

The bride, 26, is keeping her name. She is a third-year law student at the University of Miami. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University and received a master's degree in international relations from Cambridge, where she was a Gates scholar.

Her father has a dental practice in Tamarac, Fla., for which the bride's mother is the patient-care coordinator.

Complete TaxProf Blog coverage:

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink