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New details emerge in FSU professor murder-for-hire case

Grand jury, prosecutor say they want more evidence

Dan Markel
Dan Markel

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – New documents that a state attorney said never should have been released show that police in Tallahassee sought indictments against the former brother-in-law and mother-in-law of a slain Florida State University law professor, but both a grand jury and the prosecutor said they want more evidence.

The probable cause affidavits detail a flurry of activity between the mother of accused killer Sigfredo Garcia's children, Katherine Magbanua and Charlie Adelson, the former brother-in-law of slain professor Dan Markel.

The two have been suspects since the beginning, and on the day the two accused hit men were indicted, reporter Mike Vasilinda asked about charges against the Adelson family.

"They were not indicted today," State Attorney Willie Meggs said.

Police believe that brother-in-law Charles Adelson, who dated Magbanua for more than a year, coordinated the murder through the woman. She has made more than $56,000 in mostly cash deposits after the murder, according to authorities.

The new information shows that police sent an undercover agent to speak to Markel's former mother-in-law, telling her that authorities knew about the crime and demanding $5,000 to keep quiet, the documents show.

That contact prompted Adelson to meet with Magbanua and discuss killing the undercover agent, authorities said. Still, Meggs said there are too many opinions and not enough facts in the probable cause documents.

"You know what we need in this is somebody to testify about those events, not what the officer believes from drawing his conclusions," Meggs said.

An attorney for accused hit man Luis Rivera was asked this week if Rivera might cooperate in the case.

"At this point in, no. There is no indication that he will be a cooperating defendant. I mean, they are seeking the death penalty against him," said Rivera's attorney, Charles Cooper.

The Adelson family attorney has called the information fanciful fiction.

The state attorney called the probable cause documents released by the police department "draft" documents and said they should not have been made public. Police were surprised in June when a judge prematurely unsealed the probable cause documents for the two men charged with murder.