Katherine Magbanua’s long-awaited trial ended with first-degree felony convictions, a felony charge and a conspiracy to commit a felony. The conviction marks the third - and probably not the last - in the 2014 murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel.
The gunmen who shot and killed Markel in his alley were captured in 2016. One, Luis Rivera, pleaded guilty, saying he was hired to commit the crime because “the lady wants her two children back.” Prosecutors believe the lady in this equation is Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, who would eventually take the children to South Florida after Markel’s death. Magbanua, who was meeting Wendi Adelson’s brother, Charlie, at the time of the murder, and whose ex-boyfriend, Sigfredo Garcia, was the other armed man, was a critical link for investigators.
Magbanua, who survived a trial overturned in her joint trial with Garcia before Friday’s verdict, brings prosecutors one step closer to the Adelson family. Authorities arrested Charlie Adelson in April on the basis of technological advances that allowed them to improve the sound of a conversation between Magbanua and Adelson following the murder. At the time, Adelson’s lawyer, David Oscar Markus, suggested that Charlie’s arrest was a sign of despair. Markus has since retired from the case, so … maybe Adelson is showing signs of despair.
What is certain is that whoever was “chained” in Magbanua feels that the walls are closing.
Because the prospect of conviction after the loss of a murder case has a way of weakening the tongues.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you are interested in law, politics and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe is also the CEO of RPN Executive Search.