FL v. Adelson: Dentist Mastermind Murder Trial

Posted at 6:16 AM, November 6, 2023 and last updated 6:43 PM, November 6, 2023


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (COURT TV) — A Florida dentist has been found guilty of all charges in the plot to kill his ex brother-in-law.

A jury convicted Charlie Adelson of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and solicitation to commit murder in the death of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel. Adelson was remanded to custody, pending sentencing on December 12.

charlie adelson

Charlie Adelson, left, is set to stand trial next month in the 2014 murder of his former brother-in-law, Florida State University law professor Dan Markel, right. Authorities allege Adelson arranged the killing so his sister could move in with the couple’s children.

Prosecutors said Adelson plotted the 2014 murder of Markel so that his sister, Wendi Adelson, could relocate freely with the couple’s children. Markel and his ex-wife were embroiled in a contentious custody battle at the time Markel was gunned down in the driveway of his Tallahassee home.

READ MORE: Who’s Who in the Dentist Mastermind Murder Trial

Adelson’s defense team’s request to keep interviews and recordings of Katherine Magbanua sealed was granted. Magbanua, Adelson’s ex-girlfriend, 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.

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.

LISTEN: The Case Against Charlie Adelson – Court TV Podcast

Last week, a judge ordered Adelson’s parents to face questioning ahead of trial. 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 any interviews.

The judge also ruled that jurors could look at video allegedly showing Adelson speaking with one of the accused hitmen.


DAY 7: 11/6/23

DAY 6: 11/3/23

DAY 6: 11/2/23

DAY 5: 11/1/23 

DAY 4: 10/31/23 

DAY 3: 10/30/23 

DAY 2: 10/27/23

DAY 1: 10/26/23

  • Both sides give opening statements – Prosecutors detail how law enforcement connected the dots to lead them to the defendant as being the mastermind in the murder plot.
  • Defense reveals Charlie Adelson was blackmailed into making payments to his killers because they threatened to harm him and his family.
  • Defense says Charlie Adelson’s jokes about paying a million-dollar bribe to his brother-in-law and finding a hitman – found its way to violent men who saw an opportunity.

Catch up on the case with Court TV’s pre-trial coverage: