The ex-wife of murdered law professor Dan Markel breaks down in a newly released 2014 video of of investigators telling her that Markel had been shot to death in his Tallahassee driveway.
Between sobs, Wendi Adelson tells an investigator that her brother, Charles Adelson, had joked about hiring a hitman to kill Markel.
“Danny didn’t treat me very well, and I’m so scared that maybe someone did this, not because they hate Danny, but because they thought this was good somehow,” Adelson says.
Markel’s killing remains only partially solved. Two men, Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, have been charged with the murder. Yet the investigation is ongoing, and according to an affidavit filed in court by investigators and publicly released in June, police believe that the motive for Markel’s murder stemmed from Adelson’s family’s “desperate desire” to move the couple’s children hundreds of miles away to South Florida.
The affidavit also said that Wendi Adelson’s brother Charles was “involved in a personal relationship” with Garcia’s girlfriend.
An attorney for Charles Adelson has denied any involvement in Markel’s killing.
In the 2014 video, Wendi Adelson expresses concern for the safety of her children, but is reassured by the police investigator that officers are at their school.
“Would you ever ask someone to do something like this?” the investigator asks Adelson.
“Not in a million years,” Adelson says.
Adelson goes on to say that her brother Charles “makes a lot of jokes in bad taste.” She says her brother had bought her a new TV to replace a broken one as a divorce present. She says that her brother had joked, “I looked into hiring a hitman and it was cheaper to get you this TV so instead I got you this TV,” she said. “He would never — he’s my big brother, and he’s been taking care of me since I was little, but he would never.”
Dan Markel was a law professor at Florida State University and a prominent law blogger known for his intellectually combative style. He was a graduate of Harvard University, and had studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“Dan’s death left a hole in the lives of all his friends,” longtime friend Michael Goldenpine told the Forward in May.
For nearly two years after Markel’s murder, there was little public evidence that progress was being made in the case. Now, the investigation seems to be unspooling faster.
Days ago, prosecutors asked a Florida judge for the medical records of Katherine Magbuana, the woman who had dated both Charles Adelson and Sigfredo Garcia. Prosecutors said that they think Charles Adelson paid for the woman’s breast augmentation surgery in October 2014, three months after Markel’s murder.
“If Charlie Adelson paid for it, that would be very significant in a homicide investigation where there’s a conspiracy between him and Miss Magbanua,” prosecutor Anna Norris said, according to local news station WCTV.
Lawyers for Magbuana, who has not been charged with any crime, characterized the prosecution’s request as a “fishing expedition,” according to the news station.
Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter, @joshnathankazis.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.