Hit-man found guilty in murder of Jewish law professor in Florida

Hit-man found guilty in murder of Jewish law professor in Florida

Prosecutors say gunman was hired to kill Dan Markel by members of his ex-wife’s family after their ‘contentious’ divorce

Dan Markel (Wikipedia, va JTA)
Dan Markel (Wikipedia, va JTA)

A Tallahassee, Florida jury has found a man guilty in the murder of Dan Markel, a Jewish law professor shot outside his home in 2014.

The jury on Friday found Sigfredo Garcia, 37, guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, the New York Times reported. Sentencing begins on Monday. Garcia faces the death penalty in the case.

The same jury was unable to reach a verdict on the same charges against Katherine Magbanua, 35, leading the judge to declare a mistrial.

A third person charged in the murder, Luis Rivera, a close friend of Garcia and a former leader of the North Miami Latin Kings gang, cooperated with law enforcement. Under a plea deal, Rivera testified against Garcia and Magbanua, receiving a 19-year sentence and avoiding the death penalty.

Markel was a popular 41-year-old professor at Florida State University at the time of his death. He was a well-known criminal law scholar who had helped build a network of online legal scholarship.

He and his wife Wendi Adelson divorced in 2013 and received joint custody of their sons. At the time of Markel’s death, Adelson had asked for and been denied permission to move with the boys to South Florida.

Adelson’s brother and mother then arranged the murder for hire of Markel for $100,000, prosecutors said. None of the Adelsons has been charged in the case.

“Prosecutors argued that Mr. Markel was murdered because a court order prevented Ms. Adelson from relocating to South Florida with the children,” the Times reported, citing their “contentious” divorce in 2013. “They said her brother and mother then got involved, and arranged for Ms. Magbanua, Mr. Garcia and Mr. Rivera to carry out the murder for $100,000.”

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