Charlie Adelson Found Guilty of Conspiring to Murder Former Brother-in-Law

Charlie Adelson

In a trial that has spanned nearly a decade, a Florida jury found Charlie Adelson guilty of orchestrating the murder of his former brother-in-law, Dan Markel, a Florida State University Law School professor. The verdict, delivered on Monday, marks a significant milestone in a case that has gripped public attention since Markel’s death in 2014.

Markel was fatally shot while sitting in his car outside his Tallahassee home. His family long suspected the Adelson family, specifically Charlie Adelson, of being involved. The murder occurred amidst a contentious dispute between Markel and his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, over their children’s custody and other issues. Shelly Markel, the victim’s sister, expressed relief at the verdict, emphasizing the lengthy duration of their pursuit for justice.

Markel’s divorce and subsequent custody battle with Wendi Adelson were fraught with allegations and acrimony. The couple’s two young sons were a central point of contention.

The investigation into the murder initially focused on Wendi Adelson, who was interviewed by Tallahassee police but denied involvement. The probe then shifted to her brother, Charlie Adelson, after a tip from Wendi’s former boyfriend, Jeffrey Lacasse. Lacasse recounted a serious conversation with Wendi, where she mentioned Charlie’s inquiry about hiring a hitman.

As investigators scrutinized the Adelson family, a 2016 undercover FBI operation targeting Donna Adelson, Charlie and Wendi’s mother, revealed further suspicions. Donna was approached with a demand for money, ostensibly for the supposed hitman’s brother, linking her to the murder plot.

Key evidence emerged from surveillance footage showing a green Toyota Prius, rented by Luis Rivera, a gang leader, and linked to Sigfredo Garcia, both of whom were implicated in the murder. Subsequent phone data and GPS information corroborated their involvement.

Charges were brought against Rivera and Garcia in May 2016, with Rivera later striking a plea deal for reduced charges in exchange for testimony. Rivera claimed Garcia recruited him for the hit, facilitated by Katie Magbanua, who was romantically involved with both Garcia and Charlie Adelson. Magbanua, found to be on the payroll of the Adelson family dental practice without clear duties, was also charged.

During Magbanua’s trial, Garcia was convicted, and she faced a mistrial, later to be retried and convicted. Investigators then focused on Charlie Adelson, leading to his 2022 indictment.

In a surprising turn, Adelson testified in his own defense, portraying himself as an extortion victim of Garcia and Rivera, mediated by Magbanua. He claimed to have paid Magbanua significant sums to prevent harm to his family. However, his explanation for not approaching the police with this information raised doubts.

The jury, after three hours of deliberation, convicted Adelson. His pre-sentencing hearing is scheduled for December, with his attorneys yet to comment on possible appeals.

Meanwhile, Dan Markel’s parents, Phil and Ruth Markel, lament the lost years with their grandsons due to the investigation’s focus on the Adelsons. Their limited interactions with the children since 2016 have been bittersweet, filled with hope yet marred by the tragedy of their son’s murder. As the Markel family grapples with the aftermath of the verdict, they hold onto hope for a future with their grandchildren.

 

darian
Author: darian

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