Fort Lauderdale Dentist Charged in 2014 Murder of FSU Law Professor

Charles Adelson was taken into custody at his home and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder in the death of Dan Markel

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A Fort Lauderdale dentist has been arrested in connection with the 2014 murder of his brother-in-law, who was a law professor at Florida State University.

Charles Adelson, 45, was taken into custody by FBI at his home Thursday and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder in the death of Dan Markel.

Adelson was booked into the Broward County jail, where he remained on a U.S. Marshals hold.

Broward Sheriff's Office
Charles Adelson

Adelson is accused of participating in the murder-for-hire plot that led to the shooting of the 41-year-old professor on July 18, 2014.

Markel was shot twice in the head in the garage of his Tallahassee home while talking on the phone in his car, after dropping of his children at day care and spending time at the gym.

The state attorney for Leon County alleged that audio from a 2016 meeting at a Miami restaurant captured Adelson and his former girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, allegedly discussing undercover agents approaching his mom about Markel’s shooting, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Thursday.

The audio was recently enhanced by specialists and gives details about the murder conspiracy, prosecutors said.

Adelson faces the same charges as Sigredo Garcia, who drove from South Florida to Tallahassee and shot both Markel and Magbanua. Garcia, 39, was convicted of Markel's killing in 2019 and sentenced to life in prison.

Magbanua, now 38, is set to stand trial for her role on May 16.

Prosecutors said Garcia, Magbanua and Luis Rivera carried out the plot against Markel, with Magbanua accused by authorities of being the conduit between the hit men and their financiers, who apparently paid $100,000 to have Markel killed.

Florida Department of Corrections, Leon County Sheriff's Office
Sigfredo Garcia, Katherine Magbanua

During her opening statement, Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said Markel alleged that his mother-in-law, Donna Adelson, had spoken disparagingly about him to his children and wanted a judge to prohibit her from having unsupervised visits with his boys.

She also said that Markel's ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, said in interview that she hoped no one killed her ex-husband on her behalf and that her brother, Charlie, had looked into hiring a hit man but decided to buy her a TV instead as a divorce present.

Adelson's attorney David Oscar Markus said his client was innocent and criticized prosecutors for the timing of the arrest.

"Charlie is innocent and the prosecutors have no new information that led to this arrest," Markus said in a text. "The timing sure does stink, doesn’t it? On the eve of a long-awaited trial of Katie, this move has the smell of desperation."

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of the video at the top of this article included an image of a woman who is not Katherine Magbanua when Magbanua was being discussed. That video has been removed.

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