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A Florida dentist has been arrested accused of hiring hitmen eight years ago to kill his sister’s ex-husband, a prominent law professor, to settle a bitter custody dispute over the two boys.
Charles Adelson, 45, is facing charges of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder after newly enhanced audio recordings implicated him in the murder.
Adelson was being held Thursday without bond in the Broward County Jail after being arrested at his home by federal marshals. He is awaiting transfer to Tallahassee.
Daniel Markel Killed
Adelson and other members of his family have long been cited by prosecutors and investigators as possible suspects in the killing of Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel on July 18, 2014, at the home of him from Tallahassee.
Markel, 41, had been married to Adelson’s sister, Wendi, who had been unable to return to South Florida because Markel had joint custody of his young children after a contentious divorce.
Markel was shot and killed in his garage by two men, Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, whom prosecutors say were hired through Katherine Magbanua, Adelson’s former girlfriend and employee and the mother of Garcia’s two children.
Garcia is serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder in 2019.
Rivera is serving a 19-year sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testifying against Garcia and Magbanua.
Magbanua faces a new trial on a first-degree murder charge next month after a split jury in his first trial in 2019.
Leon County State’s Attorney Jack Campbell said in a statement that Adelson was indicted by a grand jury after technicians were able to enhance the sound on a secretly made 2016 video recording of him speaking with Magbanua inside a noisy South Florida restaurant, La Dolce Vita.
The Adelson family had been under the surveillance of investigators trying to solve the Markel murder.
“This recording includes statements from Charles Adelson that can be clearly heard for the first time,” Campbell said. He did not specifically say what the recording says.
David Markus, Adelson’s attorney, said his client is innocent and linked the arrest to Magbanua’s retrial.
“Prosecutors have no new information that led to this arrest. Sure the timing sucks, right? On the eve of a long-awaited (Magbanua) trial, this move smacks of despair,” Markus said in an emailed statement.
Prosecutors said at his trial that Magbanua recruited Garcia to participate in a $100,000 hit financed by Markel’s in-laws, which they have denied.
Garcia then recruited Rivera, a childhood friend, to help him. Prosecutors said the two men drove from South Florida to Tallahassee to carry out the scheme, harassing Markel the morning of the shooting as he dropped off his children at day care and stopped by the gym.
When Markel returned home, Garcia shot him while he was sitting in his car talking on his cell phone.
Wendi Adelson had told authorities that her brother joked about hiring a hit man as a divorce gift, but she decided to buy him a television.
Arrested and Charged
Meanwhile, Magbanua’s second trial is supposed to start next month, after repeated delays related to disputes over secret FBI recordings.
FBI agents surreptitiously recorded a conversation between Magbanua and Charlie Adelson at La Dolce Vita restaurant in Miami in 2016.
There was contentious legal debate over the admissibility of the recording because parts of the conversation were inaudible, but prosecutors are now likely to present the new, enhanced version.
Magbanua was not only in a romantic relationship with Charlie Adelson. She also had two children with Sigfredo Garcia, one of the convicted hit men who killed Markel.
Tallahassee police have long alleged that the motive for the murder was the acrimonious divorce between Markel and Adelson.
Adelson’s family was desperate for his daughter and the couple’s two sons to move closer to them in South Florida, but Markel had successfully fought off his ex-wife’s attempt to move in with them. kids.
An affidavit from Magbanua’s arrest alleged that she had deposited more than $50,000 in cash into her bank account in the 16 months after the murder.
Magbanua also approached Garcia after the sting, according to police.
In early September, police released probable cause affidavits revealing that Garcia called Magbanua a staggering 2,700 times in the three months before Markel’s murder.
There were also a series of phone calls on July 1, 2014, 17 days before Markel’s murder, between Adelson, Magbanua, Garcia and a phone registered to Harvey Adelson, Markel’s former father-in-law, according to the affidavit.
There were also several phone calls between midnight and 1 a.m. m. between Adelson, his mother Donna, Magbanua and Garcia on July 18, the day Markel was killed.
A probable cause affidavit also reveals that in the days and months after the murder, Garcia bought a new car and motorcycle, according to WCTV.
Records show that Rivera also purchased a motorcycle within 10 days of the murder.
Meanwhile, Magbanua began receiving checks from Adelson and his father’s dental office, the Adelson Institute, from September 2014 to January 2016.
In the year before Markel’s murder, Magbanua was making cash deposits totaling $15,000.
In the months after the murder, she was making deposits totaling $44,000, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also revealed that one of Wendi Adelson’s ex-boyfriends told police that she had disclosed that her brother was looking to hire a hit man who would cost $15,000.
Wendi Adelson and several members of her family said in a statement earlier this month that speculation that they had a role in Markel’s murder is “categorically false.”
“To be clear, none of the Adelsons, Wendi, her brother Charlie, or their parents Donna and Harvey, had anything to do with Dan’s murder,” David Markus, the attorney representing Charlie Adelson, said in a 2016 statement. .
Daniel Markel Quick and Facts
- Dentist Charles Adelson, 45, was arrested in the 2014 murder of Daniel Markel
- Prosecutors say he hired hitmen to kill Markel, his sister’s ex-husband
- Newly enhanced audio recordings tie Adelson to the murder, prosecutors say
- Shooters Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera have already been convicted
- Adelson’s ex-girlfriend Katherine Magbanua faces a retrial next month
- Alleged motive in the case was custody battle between victim and his ex-wife
- Adelson’s sister Wendi wanted to move but couldn’t due to joint custody
- Wendi said that Adelson joke about killing Markel as a divorce present for her
- Markel was gunned down in cold blood as he sat in his car on his driveway