TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Testimony has begun in the trial of two people accused of murdering an FSU law professor.
Opening statements were delivered Thursday.
The cast of characters in this trial are Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua.
Both accused of murdering FSU law professor Dan Markel for a $100,000.
A third defendant, Luis Rivera, has cut a deal and is cooperating.
Then there is the Adelson’s, Markel’s ex-wife’s family, which has not been charged and denies any involvement.
The one thing both prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed upon in their opening statements: the family of Dan Markel’s ex-wife is central to the case.
Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman told jurors the reason for the murder was a contentious divorce.
“Donna Adelson despised Dan Markel and was desperate to find a way for Wendi and these two kids to move down to where she was located in South Florida,” said Cappleman.
Defense attorney Saam Zangeneh pointed to the Adelson’s as well, contending it was Rivera, not Garcia, who was hired for the hit.
“He was a drug supplier for Charlie, and Charlie Adelson made the decision to instill and solicit this murder for hire from Luis Rivera,” Zangeneh.
Kathrine Magbanua’s attorney Tara Kawass, said prosecutors were desperate to get Charlie Adelson.
“There are so desperate to get Charlie Adelson their belief is the only way to get to him is you have to get to Katherine, They arrest her to get to Charlie. But they were mistaken. Because Katherine didn’t know,” said Kawass.
Four weeks have been set aside for the trial.
Medical professions testified most of Thursday afternoon.
The told the jury that Dan Markel lived 12 to 14 hours after being shot twice in the head.