Donna Adelson arrested days after son’s murder conviction

Posted at 9:55 AM, November 14, 2023


MIAMI, Fla. (COURT TV) — A week after Charlie Adelson was convicted in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his ex-brother-in-law, his mother has been arrested on an out-of-county warrant, according to inmate records.

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)

Donna Adelson, 73, was booked into the Miami-Dade Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center at 10 p.m. Monday night, according to inmate records, where she is currently being held without bond on the same first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation charges her son was convicted of, according to the Florida State Attorney’s Office.

State Attorney Jack Campbell told Court TV that Charlie Adelson’s parents, Donna and Harvey Adelson, were intercepted at the Miami-Dade International Airport after purchasing tickets to Vietnam.

WATCH: Donna Adelson Makes First Court Appearance

Tallahassee-based attorney and formal federal prosecutor Tim Jansen told Court TV’s Julia Jenaé that the “complex and lengthy” process of extradition from Vietnam drove Campbell to expedite the arrest.

While Donna Adelson wasn’t listed as a co-conspirator in her son’s trial, the family was involved in what was described as a contentious custody battle between Charlie’s sister Wendi Adelson and her husband Dan Markel. Markel, a Florida State University law professor, was gunned down in the driveway of his Tallahassee home.

Two weeks before the start of Charlie’s trial, a judge ordered both of his parents to appear for questioning.

According to court records, Adelson’s parents had planned to plead the fifth at questioning but hadn’t ruled out testifying at trial. The judge then ruled that the Adelsons must answer the state’s questions or risk being held in contempt. Just before the trial began, both sides agreed not to call the couple. The state stipulated that Harvey or Donna Adelson’s attorney said that the pair planned to assert their Fifth Amendment right to silence during interviews.

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)

At Charlie’s trial, prosecutors said Adelson used his ex-girlfriend Katherine Magbanua to solicit two hitmen to carry out the 2014 murder of Markel so that his sister, Wendi Adelson, could relocate freely with the couple’s children.

According to the indictment, Adelson solicited Garcia and another man, Luis Rivera, to kill Markel. Rivera pleaded guilty to second-degree murder when he struck a plea deal in 2016. He was sentenced to 19 years. Magbanua was sentenced to life in prison plus two additional 30-year sentences on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder. Magbanua’s ex and father of their children, Sigfredo Garcia, was the one who fired the gun that killed Markel. He was convicted in 2019 and received a life sentence plus an additional 30 years on a conspiracy charge.

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A jury convicted Charlie Adelson on Nov. 6 of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and solicitation to commit murder. His family who had shown up for most of the trial, was not present when the verdict was read.

Adelson was remanded to custody where he’s pending sentencing on December 12.

This is a developing story.