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Jury selection begins in slaying of FSU law professor

Katherine Magbanua, Sigfredo Garcia face murder charges

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jury selection started Monday in a murder-for-hire case that transfixed Florida's capital city when a Florida State University law professor was gunned down five years ago in his garage.

Police said a bitter divorce, custody battle and other family squabbles were behind the slaying of Professor Dan Markel.

The 750 people summoned for jury duty were seen in groups of 50. In the first batch called, three out of four said a four-week trial would be a hardship.

"It's OK if a juror has heard of the case, as long as they have not formed a definite opinion about the guilt of the defendant," said prosecutor Georgia Cappleman.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that opening arguments could begin later this week for two of Markel's accused killers, Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia. If found guilty, Garcia could face the death penalty for the 2014 killing. 

A third person has already begun serving a seven-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

The high-profile case has drawn national attention.

Police said the family of the victim's former wife orchestrated the murder-for-hire plot but no charges have been filed against them.

Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia are facing trial on a charge of first-degree murder.
Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia are facing trial on a charge of first-degree murder.