Charlie Adelson spent 35 hours on phone with mom week of her arrest

Posted at 1:31 PM, November 29, 2023 and last updated 11:00 AM, November 29, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (COURT TV) — Charlie Adelson reportedly made 86 calls to his mother in the days following his conviction and leading up to her arrest.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, in the seven-day span between Charlie Adelson’s Nov. 6. murder conviction and Donna Adelson‘s Nov. 13 arrest, Charlie spent 2,118 minutes — which is 35 hours — on the phone with Donna and/or whoever was using her iPhone.

Charlie Adelson, a Fort Lauderdale periodontist, testifies during his trial Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. Adelson is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation in the killing of Dan Markel, a 41-year-old attorney and legal scholar at Florida State University. (Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP, Pool)

Charlie is the South Florida oral surgeon convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation in the death of his former brother-in-law, Florida State University law professor Dan Markel. Donna was arrested on the same charges while she was attempting to board a flight to Vietnam.

The calls were all made from the Leon County Detention Facility to a cell phone number belonging to Donna. Charlie is being housed at that jail while he awaits sentencing on Dec. 12. Jail calls — except for conversations between inmates and their attorneys — are recorded, and their contents can be used against defendants.

According to arrest records, Donna told Charlie over the phone that she was getting things in order and making sure her grandchildren were taken care of. She also spoke about a possible suicide and traveling to a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

The longest consecutive phone call occurred on November 7, the day after Charlie was convicted, and lasted just under two hours.

Donna Adelson official mug shot.

Donna Adelson was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami-Dade County on an out-of-county warrant. Her former son-in-law, Daniel Markel, was murdered in 2014. Adelson’s son, Charlie Adelson, was convicted of Markel’s murder last week. (Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation)

Full transcripts of those phone calls are expected to become available once prosecutors and Donna’s defense team make discovery available to one another.

Markel was gunned down by hitmen in the garage of his Tallahassee home on July 18, 2014. The hired killers, Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, have already been convicted. Charlie’s former girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, was convicted as well and received a life sentence plus an additional 30 years on a conspiracy charge.

READ MORE: FL v. Adelson: Dentist Mastermind Murder Trial

Prosecutors say the motive for the murder was Markel’s bitter custody battle with his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, who desperately wanted to move with their two preschool-aged sons from Tallahassee down to the Miami area to be closer to her family. Wendi is Donna’s daughter and Charlie’s sister.

On the night Donna was arrested, FBI agents seized her iPhone. According to court records, she “attempted to pull away and prevent” them from confiscating her phone and argued that she’d been told not to give her phone to any member of law enforcement.

On Nov. 21, eight days after her arrest, Donna was transferred from Miami to the same Tallahassee facility as Charlie.