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Man accused in FSU professor's death returns to court

Hearing takes place on 2nd anniversary of killing

Broward County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Sigfredo Garcia
Broward County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Sigfredo Garcia

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – One of the two suspects accused of carrying out a hit on a beloved Florida State University professor was back in court Monday morning.The hearing coincided with the anniversary of the professor’s death.

The other man accused in the murder-for-hire plot is already serving time on unrelated racketeering charges. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 1.

A neighbor found FSU law professor Dan Markell in his garage on July 18, 2014. He had been shot twice in the head.

"What's going on with him?" a dispatcher can be heard asking a caller in a tape recording of a 911 call.

"I don't know," the caller replied. "The driver side window is all bashed in, and he's got blood all over his head."

It was a murder mystery with minimal information for 22 months until two men were arrested and charged with killing Markel.

On the two-year anniversary of when Markel was shot and killed at his house, one of the prime suspects in his slaying appeared in court.

Sigfredo Garcia’s case management hearing Monday morning lasted less than five minutes. His attorneys requested a speedy trial.

"Our primary objective at this time is to familiarize ourselves with the state's discovery, and so that's what we are going to do," Saam Zangeneh said. "We are going to let our actions in the courtroom speak for themselves and focus on the case and that's all I can say at this point because we literally just got the evidence yesterday."

The request was granted. Garcia’s trial begins Nov. 14.

"That's a strategic move that we made," Zangeneh said.

Police believe Garcia and another man, Luis Rivera, were hired to kill Markel. Documents show a suspected connection between the family of Markel’s ex-wife and the accused killers, but other arrests have yet to be made.