Paul L. Caron

Monday, November 13, 2023

Florida Has Momentum To Charge Donna, Then Wendi, In Dan Markel's Murder. Will Charlie Flip On His Family?

Following up on Wednesday's post, After Charlie Adelson's Conviction In Dan Markel's Murder, Are Wendi And Donna Next?:  Tallahassee Democrat, Even After Almost a Decade, Dan Markel Murder Saga May Not Be Over:

Adelson (Wendi Donna)

The guilty verdicts in the Charlie Adelson murder trial closed one chapter — but not the book — on the investigation into the plot to kill Dan Markel and the prosecution of the people behind it. ...

Adelson ... was the first architect of the conspiracy to go down. Legal experts say charges against others remain a distinct possibility.

The defense and Adelson himself tried to convince the jury that the prosecution was wrong in its theory that his parents, Donna and Harvey Adelson, and his sister, Wendi Adelson, Markel’s ex-wife and the mother of his two sons, were in on the murder.

But the jury strongly rejected Charlie Adelson’s account, returning guilty verdicts in only three hours – swift for a trial with such voluminous evidence, including damning wiretaps with Adelson and his mom talking in code.

Tim Jansen, a prominent Tallahassee attorney and former prosecutor, said the state has “momentum” on its side following the courtroom win.

“The jury coming back within three hours — I think they were surprised, and I think they feel confident right now,” said Jansen, who wrote daily trial analysis for the Democrat.

Shortly after the guilty verdicts were read aloud in Courtroom 3G, Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman told reporters to “stay tuned” on whether more people will be charged. ...

Fred Conrad, a local criminal defense attorney who has followed all of the Markel-related trials, said there’s ample evidence to charge Donna Adelson. ... “If Georgia thinks that she’s got a reasonable likelihood of conviction, I think she’ll go after her," Conrad said. "I think Donna is the big fish based on the evidence that I’ve seen presented in these trials.”

Will Adelson turn state's witness on his own family?


The case has already seen its share of backstabbing among conspirators, and with Charlie Adelson, 47, staring at a life sentence, experts say it’s possible he could decide to cooperate and flip on his own family. ...

“I think there’s going to be some discussion about using Charlie as a cooperating witness against his mother,” Conrad said.

James Waczewski, a Tallahassee attorney who posted trial analysis as Mentour Lawyer on his YouTube channel, Deep Dive True Crime, which has 100,000-plus subscribers, said he’s convinced by the evidence.

“To me, the whole theory of the defense in this case actually solidified my opinion that it was a family affair," said Waczewski, who attended the trial. “And I think there is enough evidence to at least bring it to a grand jury and let them decide.”

Carl Steinbeck, a Texas lawyer who also featured the trial on his YouTube Channel, Jury Trial Mentor, said the state could decide to go after Donna Adelson first before charging her daughter. He pointed to evidence against Wendi Adelson that she drove by the crime scene the day of the murder, which she denied on the stand, and had asked Markel where he would be the week of the crime.

“If they go after Donna at least first, that’s going to be motivation for Charlie to flip on Wendi to kind of deal and save his mom,” said Steinbeck, a retired Army judge advocate and former prosecutor. ...

Jason Solomon, a friend of Markel and a founder of the Justice for Dan group, said ... it would be very appropriate and I hope that Donna’s indictment will be next.”

Is Donna Adelson the Next Domino to Fall in the Dan Markel Murder Case

Wendi's World: A Deep Analysis of the Case against Wendi Adelson

Dan Markel murder, conspiracy takes center stage on "20/20" Friday, Nov. 10
With reporting from ABC News chief national correspondent, Matt Gutman, “20/20” documents how prosecutors used newly enhanced audio as the final link to charge Dan’s ex-wife’s brother, Charlie Adelson, with the crime.

ABA News, 9 Years After the Murder of a Florida Law Professor, a Family Gets Justice

Complete TaxProf Blog coverage:

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink