Florida dentist convicted in murder of his former brother-in-law

Posted at 7:53 PM, November 6, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A jury on Monday convicted a Florida dentist of murder in the shooting death of his former brother-in-law, a prominent professor outside his Tallahassee home in 2014 following a bitter custody battle with the dentist’s sister.

Charlie Adelson puts his head in his hands

Charlie Adelson rubs his face as he waits for his defense attorney Daniel Rashbaum to present closing arguments in his trial for the murder of Dan Markel on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. Adelson, a Florida dentist on trial in a murder-for-hire case involving the 2014 slaying of his ex-brother-in-law, claims he was a victim of extortion by the killers. (Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP, Pool)

The verdict signaled jurors believed the prosecutors’ contentions that the defendant, Charles Adelson, paid to have Florida State University law professor Dan Markel killed that year.

Adelson was convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and solicitation of first-degree murder after jurors returned their verdict Monday afternoon.

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

Adelson’s sister Wendi Adelson had divorced Markel and shared custody of their two children. She wanted to move from Tallahassee in the north of the state to South Florida to be closer to her family. However, a judge at the time ruled that Wendi Adelson couldn’t relocate without Markel’s consent and he refused, saying she couldn’t move the children to Miami.

Prosecutors told jurors at trial that Adelson paid to have the prominent professor killed and that he used his girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, to hire the father of her two children, Sigfredo Garcia, to commit the murder. They said Garcia enlisted the help of his childhood friend, Luis Rivera. Magbanua and Garcia were convicted of first-degree murder and Rivera is serving a 19-year sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testifying against them.

Markel was shot as he sat in his car outside his home.

LISTEN: The Case Against Charlie Adelson – Court TV Podcast

FILE – Dan Markel (Florida State University)

In a nine-year-old case with many twists and turns, Adelson took the stand on Thursday as the only defense witness at his trial, saying prosecutors got the facts of the case wrong. He said in his testimony that he felt a sense of relief to final tell the public that he was a victim of extortion and not the mastermind who hired the hitmen who shot Markel.

He further testified that he had nothing to do with the killing and that he was stunned when Magbanua came to his home and said her friends were the killers. The dentist said she told him he needed to pay more than $300,000 in 48 hours or he also would be killed.

Prosecutors told jurors in closing arguments that there were far too many inconsistencies with Adelson’s trial testimony.