Florida Dentist’s Mother Donna Adelson Arrested in Connection with Notorious 2014 Murder-for-Hire Case

Donna Adelson, 73

In a significant development in the 2014 murder-for-hire case of Florida State law professor Dan Markel, Donna Adelson, the mother of a Florida dentist, was arrested at Miami International Airport on Monday evening. Adelson, 73, faces charges of murder, conspiracy, and solicitation in relation to Markel’s death.

This arrest marks the latest twist in the nearly decade-long investigation and legal proceedings surrounding the high-profile case. Donna Adelson is the mother of 47-year-old Fort Lauderdale dentist Charlie Adelson, who was convicted of the same charges just a week prior. The case also involves Wendi Adelson, Charlie Adelson’s sister and Markel’s former wife.

Donna Adelson’s arrest occurred shortly after the conviction of her son, intensifying the scrutiny on the Adelson family’s alleged involvement in Markel’s murder. She is now the second family member and fifth individual to be implicated in the case, which has been marked by its complexity and the involvement of multiple parties.

Prosecutors have posited that the Adelson family engaged in a plot to hire individuals to assassinate Markel amidst contentious post-divorce disputes with Wendi Adelson. The case also involves Luis Rivera, a member of the Latin Kings gang, Sigfredo Garcia, and Katie Magbanua, all of whom are currently serving prison sentences in connection with Markel’s murder.

State Attorney Jack Campbell, in a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat, confirmed that Donna Adelson and her husband, Harvey Adelson, were detained at the airport with one-way tickets to Vietnam, stopping in Dubai. The timely intervention by law enforcement officials was reportedly prompted by concerns over the complexities involved in extraditing individuals from either Dubai or Vietnam, as the United States lacks an extradition treaty with Vietnam.

Donna Adelson’s attempt to leave the country has been cited as a pivotal factor in accelerating the arrest and will likely be a significant aspect of the prosecution’s case. Her arrest preceded a scheduled meeting of a Leon County grand jury by less than a day, although it remains unclear if her case will be presented at this meeting.

Following her arrest, Donna Adelson was booked into the Miami-Dade jail, with pending arrangements for her transfer to the Leon County Detention Facility, where her son is currently held awaiting sentencing.

Harvey Adelson, also implicated in the case, has not been arrested due to insufficient evidence. He is a retired dentist and former owner of the Adelson Institute in Tamarac, where Donna Adelson worked as an office manager and Charlie Adelson practiced as a periodontist.

The case originated with the tragic death of Markel, a 41-year-old father of two, who was shot twice in the head in his garage on July 18, 2014. The subsequent investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department and the FBI led to the arrests of Rivera, Garcia, and Magbanua, establishing their connection to Charlie Adelson.

Rivera, who accepted a plea deal in 2016, provided testimony against Garcia and Magbanua, the latter being the mother of Garcia’s children and Charlie Adelson’s ex-girlfriend. Both Garcia and Magbanua are serving life sentences following their convictions.

Charlie Adelson, found guilty, faces a mandatory life sentence, with a pre-sentence investigation requested by Leon Circuit Judge Stephen Everett. His next court date is scheduled for December 12. Magbanua has also cooperated with authorities following her conviction.

Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman indicated the possibility of additional charges in the case, advising the public to “stay tuned.”

The Adelson family, known for their successful dental practice in South Florida, has come under intense scrutiny for their alleged role in orchestrating and financing Markel’s murder. Prosecutors have long suspected Donna and Harvey Adelson and their daughter Wendi, Markel’s ex-wife, of involvement in the murder-for-hire plot.

Wendi Adelson testified during her brother’s trial, denying her family’s involvement. The trial prominently featured wiretaps and communications between Donna Adelson and her son, as well as emails and texts among family members, which may resurface in future prosecutions.

One notable email from June 2013, in which Donna Adelson expressed dissatisfaction with a court ruling preventing her daughter from relocating with her children, was highlighted during the trial. The Adelson family’s communications have become a crucial element in the ongoing legal saga.

The FBI’s intensified investigation in 2016 included deploying an undercover agent to approach Donna Adelson, leading to further developments in the case.

Author: CrimeDoor

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