A jury on Monday found a Florida dentist guilty of the 2014 murder-for-hire of his former brother-in-law, NBC News reported.
The jury convicted Charles Adelson on first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and solicitation to commit murder in the killing of Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel who was fatally shot on July 18, 2014, as he was sitting in his car outside of his home in Tallahassee.
In his testimony last Thursday, Adelson admitted that he paid the shooters after Markel was killed but only did so because he had been threatened.
Adelson was linked to the killers through his ex-girlfriend Katherine Magbanua.
Adelson testified that shortly after the shooting, Magbanua went to Adelson’s home and told him that her friend shot Markel and Adelson needed to pay over $300,000 within 48 hours or he too would be killed.
The prosecutor in the case, Georgia Cappleman, countered that Adelson did not have a gun to his head when he handed Magbanua $138,000 cash and arranged a “kind of layaway plan” to cover the rest of the payment.
Cappleman pointed out that after paying the money, the defendant spent the night with Magbanua, and even after their relationship ended, Adelson gave his ex-girlfriend expensive gifts, placed her on the payroll of his family’s dentistry, and handed her $3,000 a month to give to the killers.
However, Adelson insisted that the money he paid was an insurance policy to keep him from getting killed. He claimed that it was Magbanua who was protecting him.
Prosecutors argued that Adelson paid to have Markel murdered and Magbanua hired the father of her two children Sigfredo Garcia to do it. Garcia then enlisted his childhood friend Luis Rivera to help him kill Markel.
Magbanua and Garcia were both convicted of first-degree murder. Luis Rivera took a plea deal for second-degree murder in exchange for his testimony against Magbanua and Garcia.
The victim was the ex-husband of Adelson’s sister Wendi. The couple shared custody of their two children, and when Wendi wanted to move to South Florida to be closer to her family, a judge ruled that she could not move the children from Tallahassee.
In his testimony last Thursday, Adelson claimed that before Markel was killed, his family offered him $1 million to move to South Florida and Adelson offered to cover a third of the cost. He claimed that after he told Magbanua about the offer and the custody battle, she took it upon herself to arrange Markel’s murder.