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Law Professor’s Ex-Wife Denies Involvement in His Murder — After Boyfriend Talks

The former boyfriend of the wife of a murdered law professor has said she should be considered a suspect, and now her family has made its first statement on the case, calling any family involvement “categorically false.”

In July 2014, Florida State University professor Dan Markel was shot and killed with a bullet to the head as he was pulling into his garage. Investigators previously revealed that Markel’s death was being treated as a murder-for-hire related to Markel’s divorce from his ex-wife Wendi Adelson.

Earlier this week, the Tallahassee Democrat obtained documents showing that Adelson’s ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Lacasse, who (like Markel and Adelson formerly) is an FSU professor, told investigators that Adelson’s brother Charlie Adelson contacted his sister three weeks after the murder and asked her to celebrate. The documents also revealed that Lacasse had been cleared as a suspect.

“[Lacasse] believed that Wendi Adelson may be indirectly responsible for the murder of her ex-husband, Daniel Markel,” said the TPD report from Dec. 4, 2014 in the article. “When I informed him that Wendi was not a suspect, he stated ‘Well she should be.’”

Last spring, Adelson broke her silence about her husband’s death and spoke up about being treated with suspicion rather than sympathy in the wake of the murder to a Miami writing class. Markel’s brother- and mother-in-law, Charles and Donna Adelson, have been mentioned in an affidavit although the police has avoided identifying them as suspects.

On Wednesday, attorneys for the Adelson family released an official statement denying any involvement in the murder to the Associated Press.

“To be clear, none of the Adelsons – Wendi, her brother Charlie, or their parents Donna and Harvey – had anything to do with Dan’s murder,” said Charlie Adelson’s attorney David O. Markus in an email to the Associated Press.

Still, the case’s convoluted development did not end there. Here are some of the other details to come out from the newly released documents.

Drug Dealer As Key Witness:

Back in May, police arrested and charged Sigfredo Garcia in connection with Markel’s murder. Garcia pled not guilty to the charges of first-degree murder and will appear in court on November 14. Second suspect Luis Rivera will also be tried on the same day.

The same court documents revealed that a witness, who self-identified as a drug dealer, picked the two men out of a photo lineup and said that he met them when he sold Garcia cocaine. The next day, he saw Garcia and Rivera again when a rented Toyota Prius that they were driving broke down in Tallahassee. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the suspect helped the two men get spare car parts that they needed to drive to Miami and rented a hotel room for them in his name.

Investigators have previously said that they are treating Markel’s death as a murder-for-hire.

Strange Browsing History:

After going through Adelson’s phone and email records with a search warrant three days after Markel was killed, investigators found that she searched for the names of Amy Adler, who was Markel’s girlfriend at the time, and the woman’s ex-husband and brother through Google Chrome. Addison had also scoured several sites for “teacher/student porn” in the report, said the Tallahassee Democrat.

The Final Phone Call:

The documents also reveal the details of the phone conversation that Markel was having in his car when he was shot and killed. Markel was speaking to a teacher at the School of Arts and Sciences in Tallahassee about whether his ex-wife had transferred their two sons there without his permission when the educator heard a grunt, muffled voices and heavy breathing.

“[The teacher] asked if Markel was OK, but got no reply,” detailed article.

Contact Veronika Bondarenko at bondarenko@forward.com or on Twitter, @veronikabond.

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