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Charlie Adelson Murder Trial
By LARREN SMITH 4,688 views

Charlie Adelson – The Dentist Behind the Murder of a Law Professor

Charlie Adelson, a dentist from Florida, stands accused of allegedly orchestrating a plot to hire individuals to murder his sister’s former spouse, Dan Markel, who worked as a law professor at Florida State University. On July 18, 2014, Markel was fatally shot in his garage in Tallahassee, during a highly contentious custody dispute with his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson.  Charlie Adelson is facing charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy, and solicitation, and he goes on trial Monday, October 23, in a Leon County courtroom.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Charlie Adelson and the murder case that has shocked the legal community and the public. We will explore his background, his relationship with his sister and her ex-husband, his involvement with the hit men and the go-between, his arrest and trial, and the evidence against him. Stay tuned for more details on this sensational story.

Details of Charlie Adelson Case

The Charlie Adelson case is a complex and controversial murder involving a Florida dentist, his sister, her ex-husband, and two hit men.

The Victim

Dan Markel was a law professor at Florida State University and a prominent scholar in criminal law. He was married to Wendi Adelson, a fellow law professor and the sister of Charlie Adelson. They had two young sons together.  Markel and Wendi divorced in 2013 after six years of marriage. The divorce was acrimonious and involved disputes over the children’s money, property, and custody. Markel wanted to keep the children in Tallahassee, while Wendi tried to move them to South Florida, where her family lived.

The Motive

According to the prosecutors, the motive behind the murder plot was to free Wendi from Markel’s influence and allow her to relocate with the children. They allege that Charlie Adelson, who disliked Markel and was protective of his sister, hired two hitmen to kill Markel.  They also claim that Charlie Adelson was in love with Katherine Magbanua, a woman who had dated one of the hit men, Sigfredo Garcia, and had a child with him. Magbanua acted as a go-between among the participants and received money from Charlie Adelson for her role.

The Murder

On July 18, 2014, Garcia shot Markel in his garage in Tallahassee, accompanied by another hitman, Luis Rivera. Rivera was a leader of the Latin Kings gang and had been recruited by Garcia for the job. They drove from Miami to Tallahassee in a rented Toyota Prius and followed Markel from his gym to his home. They shot him twice in the head and fled the scene.  The incident occurred after Markel had dropped off his two young boys at daycare, visited the gym, and arrived home on Trescott Drive, where he was shot. Markel died in the hospital the next day.

On the day of the murder, Wendi Adelson was waiting at her house for a Best Buy employee to come and fix her broken television.  After the murder, she drove close to the crime scene, even though it was blocked off. Then, Wendi went to a liquor store and bought a bottle of Bulleit bourbon. When she talked to the police later that day, she mentioned that her brother, Charlie Adelson, had given her the TV as a gift during her divorce, and he had made a joke about hiring a hitman. But she doesn’t believe her brother did anything to do with the crime.

The Investigation

The police initially suspected that Markel’s murder was related to his work as a law professor, but they soon found evidence that pointed to his ex-wife’s family. They traced the Prius to a rental car company in Miami and obtained surveillance footage that showed Garcia and Rivera driving it.  They also found phone records that showed frequent calls between Garcia, Rivera, Magbanua, and Charlie Adelson before and after the murder. They also discovered that Magbanua had received large sums of money from Charlie Adelson and had bought a car and breast augmentation surgery with it.

The Arrests and Trials

Garcia and Rivera were arrested in 2016 and charged with first-degree murder. Rivera pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors in exchange for a reduced sentence of 19 years in prison. He testified that Garcia was the shooter and that Magbanua was the link to Charlie Adelson. Garcia pleaded not guilty and went to trial in 2019. He was found guilty of first-degree murder and given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

In 2016, Magbanua was also taken into custody and accused of first-degree murder, conspiracy, and solicitation. She entered a plea of not guilty and faced trial in 2022 where she was convicted of first-degree murder and received a life sentence without parole. In April 2022, Charlie Adelson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, and solicitation. He pleaded not guilty and is currently awaiting trial.

The Evidence

The prosecutors have submitted multiple pieces of evidence against Charlie Adelson in the case, which include:

  • A recorded conversation between him and Magbanua at a Miami Beach restaurant in 2016. In this conversation, Adelson can be heard suggesting the idea of paying or potentially harming an FBI agent who was posing as a blackmailer. He also issued a warning that he would react forcefully to anyone who threatened his family, using the term “Nazi”.
  • Rivera’s testimony identified Charlie Adelson as the mastermind of the murder plot.
  • The phone records showed frequent communication among the participants.
  • The financial records showed payments from Charlie Adelson to Magbanua.
  • The testimony of Wendi Adelson’s former boyfriend, Jeffrey Lacasse, who said that Wendi told him that her brother had joked about hiring a hitman to kill Markel.

The Defense

Charlie Adelson’s lawyers have argued that he is innocent and had nothing to do with Markel’s murder. They have challenged the credibility of Rivera’s testimony and claimed that he lied to get a plea deal. They have also questioned the reliability of the phone and financial records, saying that they do not prove any involvement in the murder plot.  They have suggested that Magbanua acted independently or with Garcia’s help without Charlie Adelson’s knowledge or consent.

They have also pointed out that none of the other members of the Adelson family have been charged or implicated in the case. Last year, during Wendi Adelson’s opening statement, Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman, the lead prosecutor, revealed a significant turn of events. She informed the court that shortly after the murder, Wendi Adelson and her two young teenage boys relocated to Miami, choosing to settle within walking distance of their old family home.

According to Cappleman, Dan Markel’s sons had their last name changed from Markel to Adelson, effectively erasing their father’s presence from their lives and supposedly resolving the Adelson family’s major issue. Wendi Adelson, who testified twice under immunity deals, claimed she was unaware of the identity of her ex-husband’s killer. She indirectly expressed her innocence, stating that she believes she has done nothing wrong and, thus, cannot be held responsible.

Jury Selection Commences

Finally, after an extended 112 months since Dan Markel’s tragic death in Tallahassee, the trial for Charlie Adelson has reached a critical phase: jury selection. A dedicated Leon County judge spent the evening on Monday, October 23, 2023, questioning 100 potential jurors to find the right individuals for the case. Out of the bunch, Judge Stephen Everett singled out 41 jurors for further scrutiny. He estimated the process might take until Thursday, October 26, 2023, to finalize the selection.

Final Words

The trial of Charlie Adelson, the Florida dentist accused of hiring hit men to kill his sister’s ex-husband, has begun with the jury selection process. The case, which has shocked the legal community and the public, will examine the evidence and motives behind the murder plot in 2014 and has had a profound impact on those involved.

larren SMith

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