Prosecutors: No plea deal for Donna Adelson

Posted at 8:04 AM, February 13, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Court TV) — At a court hearing setting Donna Adelson‘s upcoming trial date, prosecutors told a judge that they had no plans to offer her any kind of plea agreement.

Donna Adelson appears at a zoom hearing

Donna Adelson appeared via Zoom at a court hearing on Feb. 12, 2024. (Court TV)

Adelson, 74, is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder for the death of her former son-in-law, FSU professor Dan Markel. Adelson’s son, Charlie, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after a jury found him guilty of masterminding the plot that led to Markel’s shooting death outside of his Florida home.

On Monday, Donna appeared via Zoom at a hearing with Circuit Judge Stephen Everett for a hearing addressing scheduling matters. Prosecutors told the judge that both sides had talked and agreed on a trial date in September. Judge Everett scheduled the trial to begin on Sept. 30. He advised the attorneys that he would enter a second order that would address a cutoff for discovery before pausing to note with a chuckle, “However, cases have a mind of their own.”

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Judge Everett asked prosecutors whether they had extended any plea offer to Donna, which they denied. When asked if they intended to offer any plea, prosecutors responded, “Not that I know of, but if something changes we’ll let you know.”

Donna’s attorney told the judge they had no intention of making any offers to the state.

“There’s not going to be any prodding or pushing about plea offers,” the judge told prosecutors. “But ultimately when it comes down to it, if Ms. Adelson is to make a knowing, intelligent and voluntary decision about going to trial, that includes whether there is a plea offer to reject or accept.”

Donna was silent for most of the hearing, speaking only to answer the judge at the beginning of the hearing when asked if she could hear and to say “thank you, judge” at its conclusion.

The next status hearing in her case was scheduled for July 22.